Tuesday, 27 October 2015

10 years on

I realised the other day on the middle one’s 10th birthday that it must be 10 years since I graduated from Goldsmiths.  In some ways it seems like a life time ago since I was studying textiles there.  So much has happened since and not just in my artwork. 
When I visited Goldsmiths for an Open Day before I became a student, I remember being told that it took on average 10 years after graduation for the textile student to get on the right track for their career.  At the time, I thought, surely not – that seems forever!  Now, 10 years down the line it seems about right.  Things have finally fallen in place as to where I should be going and taking control and teaching from home is exactly what I want to do.  It has taken the 10 years to get to this point.  I don’t think it would have worked any earlier.
An anniversary, like 10 years, is a good time to look back on what I have been doing.  So here are some edited highlights (missing out the low points!) of the last 10 years.
Vigilance V by Gillian Cooper
This was my degree show work. 
Vigliance VIII by Gillian Cooper

I almost made these,
Shelter by Gillian Cooper at Delta Studios

...but at the last minute decided to take advantage of the digital knitting machine as I knew I would not have access to it later.  Some of these knitted pieces later toured in a Scottish Arts Council exhibition, the Cutting Edge.  I finally made the Shelter pieces for the Loch Lomond Quilt Show gallery.  They now live in my garage!
the 37 steps installation by Gillian Cooper at the Changing Room, Stirling

I was ‘Craft Practitioner in Residence’ at Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art in Dundee for a number of months.  It was fantastic opportunity to create a new body of work – the 37 steps, which went on to give me my first solo exhibition at the Changing Room in Stirling.
3 of the 37 steps by Gillian Cooper

This led on to creating the Unsung Muses series, which has occupied me for the past five years.  Initially it was shown at the Festival of Quilts, and this year had a number of outings, including to the European Patchwork Meeting in France and a couple of solo exhibitions in the UK. 
Unsung Muses at the European Patchwork Meeting

Over the past 10 years, I have written for a number of textile publications, given talks to quilt (and other) groups and started running workshops.  The teaching part of my life took a huge step this year when I converted my home studio into a teaching room and started running textile classes from home.  I can’t believe how popular the C&G in patchwork and quilting is and the dedication of the lovely students.  It is enormous fun. 
Facing Time by Gillian Cooper

Looking at this on paper, it doesn’t seem that much, but I’ve also had two more children and they do take up a lot of time – which is great.  We also moved to Scotland.  And how could I forget to mention the PomPom Festival – that really was a bit nuts.
Balfron PomPom Blossom Festival

So, not bad for 10 years.  My work has greatly developed, in ways I couldn’t have imagined and at the moment, I am loving playing with and sharing all different types of surface design.  I’m getting ready to think about the next big art project and spending lots of time teaching and writing.  It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years lead to.

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