Example 3 Tiffany

Artist Feature: Mentee Blog (Tiffany Bottomley)

My name is Tiffany Anne Bottomley.  I am a graduate of Painting and Printmaking from Glasgow School of Art and I returned to the Highlands, after 5 years in Glasgow, in February of 2011.

On my return to the Highlands I realised I wanted to get in contact with artistic people in the region so began to volunteer at the Moray Art Centre.  Whilst helping out with hanging an exhibition I was informed that there would be a course for under twenty fives to help equip them with skills that would make them more confident when applying for jobs but also more confident when representing themselves as a freelance art educator.  This was exactly what I wanted to do and needed as I had had very little experience in the creative fields other than my degree.

The course started with an eight-week workshop, Principles and Practice of Youth Work training.  During this eight week course we learned everything from how to recognise some one has learning difficulties to knowing when it is appropriate to report suspicions of abuse.  I found this course incredibly eye opening to the work that is being done by Youth Workers in our community.  Having next to no experience with working with children and young adults, this some what took the shine off my ideas of being every ones big sister but also made me realise that if I were to get involved with a youth group I would be able to feel confident in my ability.

As well as this youth work training each person involved in the CLN training gets a mentor or two.  I was lucky enough to get two great mentors.  Diane Maine and Fionna Shearer.  Just today (18/01/2012) I completed my first art class at Lossiemouth High School under the supervision of Fionna Shearer, the principle teacher of the art department.  From start to finish I felt well supported by Fionna.  This was my first class as a visiting artist to a school and with prior meetings with Fionna and multiple e-mails discussing my ideas, I was excited to see what the end results would be.  The pupils involved had been elected to have the full day with me so that they ended up with a finished product by the end of the day.  The group of pupils were chosen due to social or personal problems they may be having and so at the end of the day Fionna led a great discussion with the group to see what they had learnt, what they felt was difficult and just to see if they had a good time. It was great to hear this feed back and I will take a lot away from today.

My second mentor, Diane Maine, is a practicing artist who gives art classes at the Moray Art Centre.  Thus far I have met with Diane two times.  The first time was the most memorable and helpful in my search for what I want to be when I grew up.  I met with Diane at the Moray Art Centre armed with my most recent work.  Since leaving Art school no one has seen my work and I felt a little lost so I thought I would utilise this time to ask for a small critique from a working artist with more experience than myself in the real world.  This was incredibly helpful as it brought to a place of discussion, which I had been missing terribly since leaving university almost two years ago.  I hope this dialog with Diane will continue as it was extremely helpful to see what some one else thought of my work and to have the honesty of some one who knows the art world well.

Thus far the Artist mentoring course has been really helpful.  I don’t think I would have taken the steps I have taken without this course.  I can see myself actually working in the creative field as a career and continuing my own practice at the same time.   It’s been a relief to know its possible by meeting people who are doing it. 

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