College Days

Feeling like a child again!


Heading towards the art block of Llandrillo College on their open day last June I felt like an old woman trying to be a spring lamb! I had even had problems with the revolving door of the main entrance, in typical Miranda Heart style! But after assuring the man who helped me with the door, that I really was quite capable and intelligent enough of following directions to the art block and really did not need the assistance of a pierced, spiky haired boy, I set of with my sensible sandals, fake designer sunglasses & clutching the details of the ceramic course I was seeking.

Rounding the bend, next to the blue fire escape, as I had been assured, there in fact was the art block in front of me! What I had not expected was the grassy area in front to be covered with young bodies all lounging about absorbing the sun, in glorious technicolor with a large helping of goth black, white & purple! I almost dropped on the spot and turned around.....but I didn’t, I walked on, planned on stepping over the outstretched legs and plonked oversized bags, but there was no need, as I approached legs and bags moved out of the way and the way was clear for me to pass through the automatic door.


After being directed to the art floor, which was very quiet and nobody around to talk to, I started to relax, I was surrounded by some seriously impressive ceramics and works of art all on display for this special day. I could almost picture the frantic panic as kiln doors had been opened and precious pieces of work had be revealed in their final state for the first time. Had it been how the maker had imagined, was there disappointment or uncontainable excitement? If any of the work on display had been mine I would have been proud. 
I set off to find the ceramic course tutor.
After wandering a few corridors I was unexpectedly approached by a man possibly in his late 50’s early 60’s covered in clay, I figured this was the person I needed to speak to! 
‘Hello, are you the ceramics tutor’? 
‘Ha! No, but I will take you to her’ It turned out that this man was also a mature student and had been for many years! After a chat with Liz, she and I were both sure this was a course that would meet my personal needs. Having been working within the ceramics industry for more than 20 years, I had a large degree of knowledge on how to make ceramics and was quite capable of entering the course in its third year. My main reason for going on the course was to gain more knowledge of glazing but also to gain a recognised qualification. One hour later, I was registered and had paid, now I just had to wait until September.
My first day was so exciting and SO scary all at the same time! I was determined to go to the student lounge on my first day and to immerse myself in the atmosphere (such an old lady thing to say!!) And the thing I noticed then and have since, is how respectful all the students are! No one pays you the slightest bit of notice, so absorbed are they in their young lives, their image, their friends, their music. In the corridor they are never really sure if, as you walk past, whether you are a tutor or just another ageing student, but not taking any chances they often stand aside and let you go through the door first, or step out of your way! 

I have now been going to college for 6 months and have enjoyed every moment. Only one day a week is no-where near enough, but having to work also, it’s more than enough! I have to be honest I really thought it would be a doddle, having a good knowledge of the subject. But I was wrong, the clay side I have had no problems with, but the design and research, the City & Guilds ‘speak’ have thrown me, along with the huge amount of work building portfolios to back up your practical work. But by far the biggest challenge has been the all singing all dancing......... photo copier!!