Thursday 3 March 2016



"You don't have to make art to live as an Artist"

“Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing”

Helen Keller

It is commonly understood that most students who take art as a subject at school will not become artists. However, I feel that it is also understood that those who attend art classes will have their lives greatly enriched by an understanding of art and by the way they have learned to look and see. This is a great way to experience one’s life since it provides us with a visual appreciation of that which is freely available all around us. Plus it could provide us with an incredible tool for use in dealing with daily problems, creativity.

I remember entering the art room for the first time and experiencing a wonderful feeling of being in a comfortable, yet intense, space. It felt like my space. A space where I could be at home.

I realised that here in this room I could be like a child, (in the context of seeing the world as if for the first time.) no matter how old I was. Play and engage freely with materials to find out what they could do and thus assist me to discover and shape my world.

It was here also that I realised a very important lesson. That learning does not only happen in one’s head. All my learning, as an artist, has initially come from the engagement with the world through my hands. And through my hands my head became involved. Most of my learning has not come about from sitting in a desk, working with my mind/brain only. It has come about from doing. The rather narrow approach of desk learning does, for many students, at times more harm then good.

The art room is, or can be, a place of awakening to another self. A place of wonder and magic. A place where we can develop a sense of love for beauty, a place where we learn to enjoy the world from a visual point of view. A place where we are able to engage with, and possibly practice, the visual poetry of life. A place where we can play, and it is through play that much learning happens. Why do you think babies play all the time? It is the gateway to learning through discovery. Give a child a cardboard box and he or she will be away in play-land, in make believe-land, for ages. Discovering. Learning.

It was here, at the start of life’s journey, in the art room, that I realised that most choices, but career choices especially, were based on one of two ways of thinking. We can either choose for our heart (the love of, or passion for, a certain activity) or for our purse (how much money we will make from our chosen work). If we choose for our heart, we may, may, find happiness. If, additionally, we learn to trust the process we will always be able to take care of ourselves (I have a strong believe that that which has put us here, will also provide.) When, on the other hand, we choose for our purse we can be sure that we will be paying forever, in one way or another.

To get your hands into clay, to move paint around, to take that fantastic photo, to shape the earth, is all working toward the understanding of how to engage the creative spirit in your life.

The creative spirit, the single biggest asset we have.

“I heard a great story recently of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson. She was 6 years old and sitting in the back drawing. She hardly ever paid attention, but in this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated And went over to the little girl and she asked her what she was drawing and the little girl said: ‘I am drawing a picture of god’. And the teacher said, but nobody knows what god looks like. And the little girl said: ‘they will in a minute.” Sir Ken Robinson

Learning. Meaning to engage the creative spirit.

Take charge.


Ceramicist, sculptor and writer