Today I have my second guest post by Carolyn Schofield. This is her second post in a series of six (read her first post here). Carolyn intends to use her blog posts to talk about using art therapeutically and about encouraging people of all ages to use arts and crafts to express themselves. Over to you Carolyn…
When I got to know my late husband’s family, one of the great pleasures was getting to know his sister, Jennie Bambury. When I first met her Jennie was studying graphic design at art college in Brighton, and I remember her preparing for her final degree show. Jennie has now been working as an art teacher and freelance artist for over thirty years, and I have enjoyed following her career.
One thing I had never thought to ask her before was why she chose this career direction. She tells me that it was very simple: she had always loved art from her childhood.
“When I was a little girl I spent hours looking at illustrations in books. Pictures told the story and I loved the colours and compositions that revealed more and more detail.”
Jennie became a freelance illustrator, producing beautiful work, but when her children came along meeting deadlines became difficult, so she wasn’t able to build up this side of her career. She won awards for display work but she felt there was something missing, and decided to direct her career towards helping other people access art, so she trained as an art teacher.
For many years she has taught adult art classes, eventually choosing to run her classes independently. From her converted garage art studio she is able to run small day courses and give individual tuition.
She has impacted hundreds of people through her work, giving people confidence in their abilities, as well as providing an enjoyable social opportunity for older people.
“Art should be valued and embraced as highly as any other subject at school. In my teaching I have heard many times: “I liked art at school but I was told I was no good”, and remarks like this can give the child feelings of rejection and low confidence.”
I agree with this. I’ve met so many people, often with little self-esteem in the first place, who are now frightened to do any painting or drawing or craft work because of harsh judgements made when they were children.
As Jennie has become known for her art classes, opportunities have opened up for her to do some work in local schools. Usually this involves doing a one-off day course with a group of primary/elementary school pupils, but in 2012 she was asked to develop a special project with children from seven schools in Nottinghamshire, here in the UK. The theme was the London Olympics, and the idea was to make one large, seven part frieze on which all the children worked, accompanied by smaller individual works. The work was displayed at Nottingham County Hall, then went on display at Nottingham Contemporary, a prestigious local gallery. Click here to see some of this amazing project on Jennie’s website.
Jennie has also undertaken a wide variety of commissions, for example designing a beautiful sign for her home town, as well as designing her own range of greeting cards and prints based on local scenes.
Everywhere she travels Jennie takes with her a sketch pad, paints and pencils, so that she can capture everything she sees in her travel journal which she often uses as inspiration for future paintings. The work she does for her own pleasure reveals someone who has a deep love of the natural world and who has the ability to capture it on paper or canvas in a fresh and accessible way.
I leave you with her words about her aims as a teacher:
“My wish is to enable everyone I come into contact with to find their creative side and to revel in their uniqueness and special gifts.”
Thanks for reading.
Carolyn Schofield has an enduring love of craft activities of all sorts, including art journaling which she discovered this summer. She never quite gives up on any crafts, as her spare room and cupboards – packed with needlecraft and papercraft equipment, and half-finished projects – can testify.
Find Carolyn on Pinterest and Instagram.