I’ve been a bit quiet lately on the blogging front because I’ve been working on a few big projects in the background that for one reason or another I’m unable to talk about.
But I can talk about this one now – I’ve just had official confirmation that I have a place on the Illustration MA in Authorial Practice at the world-renowned Falmouth School of Art.
Illustration master’s – why?
You can read up about the course description here. Moving to a housing co-op in Devon enabled me to reorganise how I work. It’s a lot cheaper to rent here than to pay a mortgage in Cardiff and this means I don’t have to work full time. And it gives me time to think.
I started to think about how I’m really enjoying illustration but that I don’t think I’m pushing myself as hard as I can go, or exploring all the outer deeper reaches of subjects. I started to think about how I’d like some external supervision, some impartial advice, some signposting around where to go next. I thought about how I love to read theory, how I adore folk tales and their effect on our psyches and my fascination with psychoanalysis and symbols and mythology. And I wondered if there was a master’s in that.
A google of illustration masters’ degrees and Exeter (my nearest university) took me straight to Falmouth which has links to Exeter. Falmouth is where I did my first degree, graduating in June 2000, and I had an uneven time there (most of which wasn’t the fault of the town). I was deeply ambivalent about returning. But after speaking with a friend who’d done her MFA there my curiosity was piqued and I decided to apply.
After applying I was invited for an open day and also an interview. Going back after 16 years was emotional but I fell in love all over again with the location, the ethos and the facilities (not to mention that it’s about 10˚warmer there than everywhere else!) They’ve a huge screen printing room, a litho set-up, courses in metal and wood engraved printing, life drawing, a fabulous library and it’s all set in a tropical garden by the sea.
I was nervous about the interview and had genned up on a lot of theory, spent a day in Exeter University Library stealing an education and generally reminding myself of all the things and more that I’d learned at my undergrad degree all those years ago. But I needn’t have worried. The interviewer was passionate about environmental and animal rights and felt that illustrators had a duty to report what was going on in the world. Suffice it to say we had a lot in common. He offered me a place there and then (but I’ve waited until receiving the emailed official offer to announce it!). So yeah, exciting stuff!
The course starts on September 18th 2016 and is two days a week. I plan on driving the two hours down to Falmouth first thing Tuesday mornings, spending the whole day working on the degree, sleeping in my camper van over night, working all of Wednesday and then driving back that evening. Hopefully I’ll be able to get all of the course work done over those two days, leaving me the rest of the week for paid work (because I’ll still need to pay the rent!), housing co-op work and other stuff.
Financially-speaking hopefully I won’t be out of pocket – this is the first academic year where you can get a student loan for a master’s degree. Over the two years of the course I can borrow £10,000 and this will pay the course fees and also the extra fuel involved in driving to the end of Cornwall and back once a week. Fabulous!
I can’t wait to get started. Who knows where my practice will lead me…