I have just returned from a whirlwind adventure to the UK, Northern Ireland, Ireland and France. In three of these four areas, I presented some lectures, small workshops and visited some of the major art programs that provide majors in glass.
My trip was fantastic and all the people I met were excellent.
I did notice that as I talked to many students, lecturers and practicing artists that it seemed to be much more difficult to build a thriving practice without the support, integration and connections of a wider community. In the talks that I gave on my own practice, I reflected on my good fortune to have always been able to construct my path within areas awash with artistic activity (such as Portland and Canberra) as well as quicken the pace of my development through my involvement with formalized organizations (such as GAS and the Pilchuck Glass School).
I also focused on how I work to progress my path by first building a foundation of ability and access to support the structure and span of a career in art. I see this as developing the skills to build your way as well as the support to hold you in place. For me, I owe a lot to those who have educated and employed me and also those who are my friends and colleagues (especially Mel George).
Here is a link to a write up by Fiona Byrne on the talk I gave at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.
Now returning from this trip and back to focus, I am excited and energized to start back up on my PhD and all of the various projects circling the areas of my available free time.
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