In the beginning…
A brief background to my story, girl went to college to study A-levels, parents split up whilst girl was at college and she really struggled with her A-levels. Girl nearly dropped out, but she had an amazing art tutor who persisted with her and recommended she apply to do a foundation course in art & design. Girl applied, got accepted and completed a foundation year at Falmouth College of Arts down in Cornwall and it was truly the best year ever, I absolutely loved it, I had found my happy place.
I was still a bit unsure of what to do after my foundation and I think my parents were concerned about what I could do with an art related degree, but despite this I applied and got accepted to do a BA (Hons) in Fashion Textile Design.
I had a mixed experience at university, my first year was fabulous and I had the most amazing tutors. However, when I moved into my 2nd year, things changed. My main tutor changed and things started on a bit of a downward spiral for me. I used to believe that I was really hard done by and that I was a victim of a tutor that didn’t like me or my work. It took me a very long time to realise what had happened way back then and on reflection I believe that it all came down to a matter of confidence and mindset.
You see, looking back I don’t think I ever really believed that I deserved to be at university, I wasn’t good enough, I would never be able to earn a decent living having a degree in “colouring in and sewing!” If I’m honest, I actually even remember having that conversation with some of my friends whilst I was sitting in the design studio, “can you imagine getting paid to do this every day?” “Nope, sounds too good to be true!”
The upshot is that I tried too hard to please my tutors, to try and fit into a box, to try and produce the work I thought they wanted to see. I probably don’t need to point this out to you, but needless to say it didn’t work. My grades didn’t improve and I ended up with a 2nd class honours degree plus a portfolio of work that I hated.
So what have I learnt? On reflection I should have followed my heart, trusted myself and my intuition, believed in myself and been authentic to my creative self. Creativity is so subjective, not everybody will like your work, but that’s ok. If you are truly following your heart and enjoying what you are doing, that will shine through in your work….that’s what people will react to and that’s what will resonate with them.
So go forth and create what you love, in your own way and enjoy the process of doing it. If people happen to like what you’re doing, then that’s an added bonus.