Like most kids my teenage years had many tough years..... these days its called bullying or harrassment but back in the 70's it was just life!
I was fortunate in some respects because I had my creative outlets to retreat to when the outside world was too much...and there were no words to express how i felt.
I was also lucky my High School had an amazing arts & crafts centre.... multiple studios surrounding a central landscaped court yard which backed onto a natural creek with a canopy of Eucalyptus trees.... there was a pottery studio, a photography studio, a woodworking studio and some multi purpose rooms for textiles - weaving, jewellery making, printing, leatherwork... whatever you wanted.
It was my haven in a world of change... with some remarkable teachers... but one in particular who had a lifelong affect on me... Pam Merlo.
She knew how tough I was doing it and always found the time to make sure I was ok, talk to me, teach me and be my mentor. She knew that textiles was my passion and my outlet... she got me through some of my most difficult years.
She was a talented textiles artist, potter, teacher & humanitarian who shared her knowledge with everyone who wanted to learn. For a time back in the 80's she was taking workshops teaching spinning to prisoners in Pentridge Prison.... no discrimination or no boundaries....she was giving back long before it was a hashtag.
As much as the internet revolution has made the world smaller and you can learn something new by just googling it.... and is the very reason I am able to write this blog.... that this area of education is seen as irrelevant, unnecessary and of no benefit to a students future. I think its sad that teens these days dont have the studio environment that I was lucky to have to escape and create and discover hidden talents or passions....to learn active meditation... to learn patients and concentration.... to be treated like an artistic equal.... to share ideas however unusual.... actually the more unusual the better!
In a world of instant gratification.... we need to teach our children theres another way to escape from reality or to find your reality. To discover different ways to think about or see things... to learn the value in silence and solitude ... to learn about failures and successes.. and that its ok.... to see through your minds eye.... to feel...to find your bliss.