This week is my gap between ending my time at Sheridan as a textile designer and starting my Masters of Design by Research at UNSW. I've been teaching at COFA for a number of years and made the big decision to return to research and start my own studio practice. Completing a Masters seemed like a good a way as any to kick it all off, intertwined with taking on a few more classes & lectures in the Design School.
I've been looking for a shift in how I spend my time for a little while. Working in a commercial studio gave me the chance to hone my design skills, learn about the textile industry and develop a disciplined approach to creative work. Seven years later I find myself wanting my work to blend into my real life a little more. I'm not sure if this is achievable but I'm going to give it a shot!
This morning I went to my first workshop at Main Campus equipped with my "Lost on Campus" mobile app to make sure I could find my way (COFA is a quaint villiage compared to the metropolis that is Kensington). The workshop delved into developing good mental and physical habits of writing, thinking positively about writing rather than fearing the blank page, the discipline of writing every day and the benefits of writing collaboratively. The facilitator was Dr Helen Sword - an energised and engaging Associate Professor from the University of Auckland. What luck to start my academic life with such vitality!
Dr Sword has developed a tool that tests the fitness level of your writing. It's quite fun to see how a paragraph of your own work could transform from "flabby" to "neat & trim" just with a few tweaks. For instance, when testing this post it mentions very nicely that my use of verbs could be "toned up". Probably true! You can find the Writers Diet here.
The room was filled with seasoned academics. I was the fresh faced student ready with her nifty new stationery* and mind open to it all. I am now the student I used to roll my eyes at during my Undergraduate days. I'm hoping to keep a hold of this level of excitement for a little while longer without annoying my peers too much.
I have managed to fit in some very nice activities alongside the workshop. A swim at Wylie's Baths on Monday and a trip to see "My Week with Marilyn" have provided relaxation and inspiration. When considering the topic of a work/life blend the workshop was just as invigorating as swimming laps in the sun or admiring Michelle William's interpretation of Marilyn. So far so good.
* I've made it a point to be equipped with the very best stationery possible for the new year at University. My mum used to fill our pencil cases with new goodies (Posca Pens when we were very good) and I think that memory has stayed with me. My chosen notebook comes from Notemaker who distribute the Behance product range. Their philosophy is based on an "Action Method" that aims to boost productivity. Already I've been able to highlight some of the points I'd like to follow up from today's workshop. Brilliant.
Image: Action Method Paper