This post follows on from Part 1 and will probably make more sense of you read that first
This post is about the circular thoughts that are raging in my brain as I consider whether or not to go on and do the City and Guilds Diploma in Patchwork and Quilting. I share them because I was encouraged to do but also because the wise comments I hope to receive may help me!
The first thing I should say is that the thoughts are a little premature as I have a year left of the Certificate to do before I can do the diploma anyway, but I am genetically programmed to think ahead!
My first dilemma I think I have solved - that was whether to stay at the same level and do the Certificate in Machine embroidery. I do want to learn much more about machine embroidery but I realised that I was going to have to repeat all the same design work as I had just done if I did the same level course. In some ways this means I could do it better than I did first time round but on balance I want to go forward so I shall not be doing this. I will however be setting myself goals to learn in this area and in due course buying lots of books so if you have recommendations - please comment.
So the remaining dilemma is whether or not I should do the diploma. Here, in no particular order are the contradicting thoughts running through my head. The log book for the course can be found here:
1. My experience with the Certificate makes me sure that I do not want to continue at the same institution. I want the benefit of good personal tutoring from active artists. A long conversation I had with Linda Kemshall convinced me that her company would provide just that. It would costs a lot more than going in person to my existing institution.
2. However, at the end of the same conversation she asked me why I felt I needed a course - why I didn't just learn by myself! This is a very good question and goes to the heart of the issue requiring some real navel gazing. I have several graduate and post -grad qualifications - I have (excuse the lack of modesty here) excellent research skills and learn very well independently. My time management skills are re known. So learning alone is no problem - either literally alone or online without a class structure.
So why am I so attracted to a course? Possible answers are:
(a) I am a qualification junkie. I love education and learning. I think constantly that there is more information or knowledge out there that I could glean if only I was at the right class and I want it. ( To wit: I just e-mailed a museum in Aboriginal art which we may go to on our holidays to ask how to get on their digeridoo workshops. Do I need to learn the digeridoo? No of course not. Do I need to spend holiday time in a class? No. But I could have done and what fun that would be! In fact they no longer run them. Bah!)
(b) I respect other people's knowledge. I believe that people can teach me. I am also jealous of people who know more than me and I want to be like them. I believe that I can do things if only I learn how. I was bitterly disappointed however with the standard of teaching and inspiration I got on my certificate course and would be very very careful to ensure that I chose the right person this time round. I had a similar experience with a University when I started my third masters degree, which was my second in Creative writing ( see (a) above!). The standard was dreadful and half the class including myself pulled out. So I am very concerned that I falsely assume that a course holds the mysteries I am seeking. Plus, it occurs to me I could spend my money on a series of master classes at Festival - the three days ones that run before the show for example - or travel to short courses and achieve a variety of teachers inspiring me.
(c) I like purpose. So the idea of a qualification at the end is a motivation to do work, which I might have otherwise avoided, not realising that it would actually be of worth to me in the end. However, I think I might finally have learned this lesson and now know that sketchbooks and samples are not a waste of time necessarily! I have an exceedingly supportive husband so it is not a case of needing an excuse to work on my 'hobby' but somehow a course gives 'playing around' validity.
(d) the Diploma involves an in-depth research project with samples and work coming from that chosen inspiration. I love the idea of a research project. I thrive on research projects. My whole family ring me to get me to Google all and sundry rather than research it themselves because I am good at it. So, I could just set myself a research project and set to. Why do I need to spend £1250 ish to do it? Because there is a qualification.....
(e) Why do I need a qualification? Well, I don't right now in career terms. I guess in the future if I wanted do teach it would be handy to have a diploma. But my 'day job' is such that I would not be giving it up to do textile art ( love it too much/ it pays too much) any time before semi-retirement. So I could do the diploma later.. but if I am going to do the work now, why repeat things?!I did say to a friend that I wondered if I needed the approval - you know having a tutor say. Well done you clever girl'. She told me to find my validation elsewhere ,which might be good advice if I knew how to do it!
(f) Will the course be what I want? To some extent it is in the sense that it involves taking what I know to the next level. I feel that I have so much more understanding of how make the course work for me than I was given at the beginning of the Certificate that I could really make the most of this one.
to learn what I want to learn if I just taught myself stuff and on the other that I would be stretched into areas I However, it involves some work I am not fussed on (miniatures) and doesn't cover some I am ( machine embroidery, felting) - although I gather there is real scope for edging towards that in the way you interpret the syllabus and work. I feel that on one had I would have more flexibility might otherwise ignore if I did the course. And If I did it online there is no rush as it is time flexible so I can go off into jollies in other areas anyway. Indeed I quite like the idea of spinning it out so that (i) I can really do it in depth whilst still having time to do fun quilts and (ii) I can avoid having to find another course to do when I finish it :)
(g) wherever I do it - is it really worth the money? I am lucky in that I can pay for the course without worry. However, that money can only be spent once and I do not want to waste it. Is it better spent on materials/ books/ short courses etc. ( Or blown on a trip to Houston?!) How much value is there in what I pay for as opposed to the the value of the work I would do for myself anyway? Of course one option is to pay to register in person at my current institution knowing full well I will not get the inspiration and tutoring but in effect allowing me to teach myself but still get the qualificaton - sort of C&G-lite! (It galls me to give them my cash though!)
Well, this is a long post and I guess that if you got this far you must not have found it too boring. In summary I think my head is saying I don't need it and it costs a lot of hard earned money and my heart is yelling 'Its a course - take it , take it!'.
Sigh. What do you think?!