Many years ago when I returned to teaching , with small children needing care and only a martyr of a sister in law to help me with that job, I was distressed when a new colleague warned me not to mention that I had children. We were supposed to be corporate world, teachers, as opposed to the teacher that I had been in my early days who focussed on teaching children about how connected we were to everything.
I wasn’t allowed to clock off and do my own home life thing and then catch up on work in the quiet of the evening. I had to sit through endless meaningless jargon meetings full of catch phrases and participate in committees and sub committees because that’s what corporate worlds do. None of it had anything to do with teaching but of corralling and subjugating teachers into fear of losing their jobs. It was a horrible time and I left to return shortly after on my own terms.
In those early days university research was undertaken as a quest for knowledge. Australia was a leader in knowledge production but as a country we were much like many modern day artists and not very good at making a buck out of our own discoveries. Our inventions and discoveries went off overseas and Big Pharma funded production while making a hefty profit. Our scientists freely exchanged information with scientists all over the world in a frenzy of excitement about adding to knowledge but at some point the paradigm was turned on its head and money was only made available for research that would produce profit for the end producer. Trickle down economics from the behemoths to the universities was falsely presented as in short supply.
The inevitable consequence was squeezing out of research departments or charging for knowledge. And so Australian scientists had to learn the hard way that there is no money in research that upsets investors or governments. Every facet of our education system has gone the same way and if a teacher is innovative then that becomes a money making venture to produce a “package” to be sold to other schools. Everything is very tame but if a big investment has been made then an equal investment is made in advertising and flogging a product to be swallowed as the latest and greatest.
Our education minister loves to make inflammatory commentary on education policies I suspect mainly as a distraction to other government subterfuge but by degrees art education has been commercialised and trimmed down to return to basics. I hope we have come far enough in child psychology to recognise that art is a basic especially in the life of a child.
I have knowledge. I still discover and create. I have no end purpose to my creating other than to see what I can do. I remain curious and many things tickle my curiosity on an hourly basis. As soon as I go into end market mode something in me deflates and dies. I have to relieve the suffering by practising a different form of art and enquiry, drawing, painting, sewing, photographing, cooking, gardening, printing, carving, sculpting, writing.
So in my absence from blogging I have nearly finished my first picture book based on a knitted character that emerged from my bucket of threads.
Some of my work is also out in the world at White Rabbit Collective in Sydney Rd Brunswick and if you are out on a Western Victorian road trip drop in and see lovely Linda at Gray St Flowers in Hamilton where I also have some work. In a week or two is the opening of the Linden Postcards exhibition which has changed format this year to only 2D work so it's just as well I keep my finger in the drawing pie as well and have two entries in it.
And like everyone else on the planet I have bumbled through dark days dragging my sad sack of worries but I have the advantage of education and freedom of thought and speech and association. I live in a vibrant multicultural, multiverse full of ideas to synthesize and rub against one another. My heart goes out to all those places on this planet being ravaged by monocultures of thought, religion, race and agriculture. My body is telling me as a result of a systemic allergy to live on a bland repetitive diet but my mind doesn’t need to succumb.
If you want to follow more of my artwork I can be found living in Instagram world under the handle @crankyceramics. For those of you tentative about having an online presence like instagram in order to connect , it is possible to have a private account containing nothing while still enjoying the plethora of activity out there. I post there almost daily.