Christchurch College, Canterbury
My teaching timetable was very similar to the one that I had had at Hockerill, the time split equally between education and Art/Textiles. The student mix was similar too, quite a large number of mature students. I had had a lot of experience by now and I knew how the courses could change their lives. A more than normal number of mature students divorced from their husbands or wives either during or after their time at college. It meant that one person was possibly moving on and developing their own ideas whilst the partner remained static. When I interviewed them I made a point of asking ‘Is your husband/wife happy for you to do this course’. I can also remember at one stage giving each student £10 (rather than hiring a bus to go to London) with the stipulation that they should go somewhere unusual or a place that was completely new to them for a whole day and use their sketchbook to note down their sensory perceptions, the only rule was that they had to be on their own. It was very effective, someone went to the docks, someone to Fords car factory, someone to an old peoples home etc. One thing that came up every time that I repeated the exercise was the fact that the women with families found that it was unnerving, they hadn’t been on their own for years and how difficult it was to get used to.
When I started at Christchurch my Head of Dept was Colin Dudley. Like Cyril at Hockerill, Colin had been called up. He was in the RAF Bomber Command, on all the raids across Germany. His job was as tail gun Charlie.. They sat on their own in a tiny compartment at the very back of the huge bomber. A huge number were killed, he earned a DFC for bravery. He was a good all round artist, basically a painter but he also made sculpture. There was an interesting tall polymer candlestick in the chapel that he had made. When he retired he went to live in Australia and made a name for himself as an academic painter.
Colin Dudley visiting me in my house.
Colin made a name for himself in Australia with these two pieces of Don Bradman, not quite my cup of tea but I can see why they were popular.
Whilst he was in Australia he also got his PHDFrom University of Kent. The subject Sacred Geometry.
When the long fought for memorial for Bomber Command was erected in London, he made one of the bronze wreaths and it was brought across in a plane by the Australian government to form part of the whole structure.
The two other men in the dept at the beginning were Peter McCulloch, ceramicist and David Holt art history. I never saw any of Peter’s own work, I think he just devoted his time to teaching. He also got his PHD after retiring, his subject was The Labyrinth.
David Holt was a fine painter probably more adventurous and personal than Colin.
These were the only ones that I could find but they are definitely not his best.
Targets on the Army Ranges at Hythe. Series. This one is more typical.
Then me, jack of all trades.
Fossil Bike, Lyme Regis. Screen print.
I had drawn this bike on a field week; it was decaying in mud at the bottom of the fossil forming cliffs at Lyme, next to ammonites. I was imagining that it would become a fossil too.
Almost by default (as usual in my life) I found myself teaching very basic photography to all art students, at the same time as taking the Textile students. Just the same situation as Hockerill, the three men had decided that the art students needed to supplement drawing with photography. I was the only one who had ever developed a film and used a dark room. There was no dark room, so they took a section of the textile studio and made one. It wasn’t very adequate but I could just about manage. When I say basic, I mean I taught them to use an SLR, develop black and white film and use the dark room. From that point it was up to them. When I was at Hockerill I used to take the keen students that were interested to the Photographers Gallery in Newport Street. I had also built up a small library of books on photography. My own personal love was documentary photography and one of my great favourites was Tony Ray Jones. He died tragically young. When I came to Herne Bay I realised that it had featured in his images. They were photos of the background scenes at the local carnival and I determined to carry on his tradition, I kept it up for about ten years, I have about 500 photographs. Recently I made them into a Powerpoint display and gave it to the Local History Society. I also recorded the Fishing Festivals and the Raft Race and any other community happening.
Stack of deck chairs opposite my house. The extraordinary thing was that there was so much visual richness within half a mile around my house. This one was the starting point for a textile hanging, I was doing a lot of work on seaside holidays at the time. Somebody bought it and as usual I forgot to record it. Usually because I am working on them up to the last minute.