What I‘ve been up to…
I worked as a gardener for the first year or so after leaving college (I’d worked summer holidays in my local park when a student), while doing the occasional commission – mainly portraits – before getting a position in a private school, initially as a Textiles teacher and after two years (and the Art teacher’s retirement) as Art teacher. They also kindly (or dubiously) gave me Religious Education classes for 12 year olds… I loved working and engaging with youngsters who, in spite of it being a private school, were from all sorts of backgrounds. I worked there for 10 years before I felt the need for a change.
Whilst there, I also worked for Swansea college as a tutor running evening classes for adults, again mainly Textiles, (and eventually Paint Techniques for Interior Design – some classes were in a relatively deprived area and the attendees were inspired and inspiring), which I continued for at least 20 years.
After I left the private school I worked part time (whilst still teaching evenings), as an Arts and Crafts instructor in a local day centre, and also worked freelance as a dress designer, making wedding and bridesmaid dresses and special occasion outfits and still doing the occasional portrait.
I then had my daughter and spent five years at home with her, although I did manage to fit in a course/qualification in Interior Design Techniques when she started nursery at 3 (and a few years later taught that to adults in evening and afternoon classes) and working from home as a freelance Textile Designer. Once she started full time, I also volunteered at my daughter’s school, taking groups of 5-6 year olds for Arts and Crafts. This eventually led to part time work in the school as a one to one T.A. with a young boy with behavioural difficulties (I eventually did a two year Counselling course at Swansea University leading to a HND as a result), and I continued to work with children with special educational needs for about 12 years, also fitting in part time Textiles and Art teaching in a local secondary school. However, the pressures in the current education system led me to look for alternatives.
I now work part time in a nearby theatre, which is varied and interesting but allows me time to do other creative work (when I’m organised enough!) such as portraits, textiles work, and making jewellery…