Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Chrysalis - and a good teacher

A bronze sculpture that I made while in college - most of my bronzes were made in that time because we were so lucky to have an actual foundry in the college.

Did i ever tell you about the foundry?

Well, I really got into it quite by chance. When I started college I was amazingly ignorant of how it worked and how other things worked. In first year we were required to do a subsidiary subject, one in each term. I do not remember all the subjects I picked but when one of my first year tutors looked at my choices he asked me why I was not doing foundry, seeing as I was interested in sculpture. I was too timid to admit that I had no idea what it was but went along with his suggestion like a lamb.

When I got to the foundry I sort of found my niche. Also I met my tutor and friend Roger, who supported me and encouraged me throughout my college career in his really commonsense, down to earth, North of England sort of way. It was great. i spent 5 years in overalls and up to my elbows in plaster, but loved it. I am just a bit sorry that my college time had to come to an end and with it my opportunity to do any real foundry work. That said - it is quite possible that I might find a corner in my new garden in Spain for a small furnace and kiln and start collecting scrap metal :-)

Roger is a great tutor very down to earth and full of knowledge of his subject, as well as lots of other subjects too. I think I was lucky because his teaching style really suited the type of person I was and was trying to be - if that makes sense. What I mean by that is that I knew that person was inside me, but sometimes she just needed coaxing out.

Roger wouldn't let me wallow in self-pity or get too down in the dumps or stressed. Coming up to the end of year he would always tell me to put one foot in front of the other and look at what I had done/achieved and not what i still had left undone. And you know what? Everything always did get done in the end.

Some of his life's philosophies are still with me and I often think of him when I am rushing to get something done and getting stressed that there will not be time and i say to myself "one foot in front of the other Mary!" I actually find myself passing on that advice to others I meet now. That must be the mark of a truly great teacher - his teaching is being passed on and on.

In fact, now that I am reminiscing about my college days I also remember Roger giving myself and all the other foundry groupies long talks about everything foundry. He made a point of sharing every ounce of knowledge that he had at that time and spoke often about the importance of sharing knowledge, not just keeping it for yourself.

His is also a belief in constant learning - that is something that I hold very dear myself so did not need much persuading on that topic. Every time that I pop back to the college he is always up to something else with his students - pushing the boundaries and learning something new about casting or patination. He is never afraid to learn from his students either which I think is the mark of a very good teacher.

Well there you go reminiscences of the old college life and one particular tutor/friend. They were great years though. They were a real rite of passage for me and perhaps I managed to teach Roger something too!

If you are reading this Roger - did I?
P.S. sorry if I am making you blush! :-) But it is all true!

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