Since completing City & Guilds, it’s made me think about the whole story so far …
I suppose creativity and ‘makes’ started for me in primary school with art lessons and ‘sewing club’.
RUSSELL SCOTT PRIMARY SCHOOL, DENTON, MANCHESTER
Whenever I visited the public library, which was on the way home from school, I always took out a book of craft projects alongside a reading book. They were both equally important to me …
When I sat, at the age of 16, what were then ‘O’ Levels at my traditional girl's High School, it was clear to see from my coursework that Art was going to be my strongest subject, but then when the time came, I also qualified equally as well in English Language and Literature.
FAIRFIELD HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, DROYLSDEN, MANCHESTER
National educational policy of the time meant that the 6th form was abolished, so, given a choice of options, I set on a course at Technical College – what an eye opener! Textiles, Fine Art, Pottery, 3D Design to name a few disciplines …. It was all so friendly too, as we were treated like adults and on first name terms with the tutors.
TAMESIDE COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY, ASHTON UNDER LYNE
I kind of ‘fell in’ to the next step – ‘Textiles’ was my strongest area and I progressed into doing a Printed Textile Degree in Manchester, home of the textile industry, winning one of only 18 places out of over 300 applicants. I loved the drawing aspect of the course and had a particular aptitude for plant drawing, done as a discipline every Friday, but think I specialised a bit early on … We swapped around the different textile areas for a few weeks and my weave tutor actually said, ‘Diane, you should have done weave …’. I loved all the yarns in the studio ...
MANCHESTER SCHOOL OF ART
I left the degree course unfinished and started to work for my living after a move to the south-east. My strengths in English led first of all to academic publishing and design for journals.
I always felt I had a degree in me though and when I had earned a bit of spare cash embarked on The Open University. I pursued design and technology courses with due diligence, able to transfer over credit from my previous course. It was all very intellectually stimulating …
Having learned a bit more about the theories of design, I went back down a more creative route… There was now actually an Open College of Arts available, enabling me to work at the same time … I did their mixed discipline first year and found I still enjoyed working with yarns and fibres.
I was also working in a fine art museum now which I did for many years. I loved the environment - surrounded by the highest quality art on a daily basis. I enjoyed the type of work I was doing too, managing a picture library.
THE FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM, CAMBRIDGE
I’d done a lot of study so far and decided to have bit of a break … However, this was not to last long as a change into a more administrative role away from the museum made me realise big time that the creative aspect was missing in my life and I needed to do something about it …
The first step I suppose was looking around at all the crafting blogs available on the world wide web. I became hooked into a challenge at Sew Weekly, based in San Francisco, where the aim was to create a sewn garment every week for a year – great for improving crafting skills and making some design decisions. I also discovered ‘Knit Design Online’ run by expert designer and tutor Loraine McClean, enabling me to complete a City & Guilds certificate by distance learning.
And so, that is the story so far ... Looking back gives me a sense of continuity and perhaps an idea of where I will go next ....
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