During the Level 2 class, I observed and assisted in the practical session around the workshop with students using clay, foam board, plastics, paper collaging and metals. They were exploring surface pattern, texture and form for their final major project which is varied from student to student. Often I step back and observe how the Jim (the tutor) talks to and questions the students to gain an understanding of what questions to ask how to ask questions in the right/best way. With this level, there is more instruction needed than the foundation level students and I find it a lot more challenging to engage with a number of students in this group as they seem less interested or motivated which in turn makes it difficult to help them with their development. The more time goes on, the more daunting the prospect of my teacher training becomes, although I know I have the motivation and passion to carry it through, I think it is going to be really tough.

In the second half of the session, I gave a short presentation of my Professional CV Powerpoint with images of my work and giving some background information about my education and career so far along with my plans for the future. I felt it was a worthwhile exercise not only for the students, but also for Jim and myself. Jim asked questions about my work and choices about education and work to make the students think about their own choices and to demonstrate that not everyone follows the same “expected” path/journey.

After lunch, we ventured over to the other campus for the foundation class. There was another volunteer (Abby) with the foundation class today, who is a Visual Communications graduate and a former student of Halesowen. I went around the studio and spoke to the students one-on-one about their progress since last week and their vision of how and where their projects are going. I also listened in on the conversations Abby was having with them and felt that she spoke far too quickly for some students to take in what she was saying. She is the same age as me, although I feel she shows a lot more confidence than I do in the way she gives out her opinions. Her being in the session was also helpful for me to find out how to cope in the “real world” as a practicing creative. She has worked self-employed and across Canada and Barcelona among other places and has now decided that she wants to take a year out and concentrate solely on her own work rather than working to commissions. She has taken down her website to avoid any commissions being sent her way, so I can’t even look up her illustrative works. I personally think that in this economic climate, you have got to be mad to give up the opportunity of paid work!

I have discussed with one student how to add textures to glass using lace and sandblasting the patterns directly on, which she may wish to do to the glass on the top of the table she has been working on. I will bring in a sample of lace designs sandblasted onto the surface. It may have to wait another week to show how this can be changed by simple heat polishing in the kiln.