Thursday, 22 July 2010


A tribute to my students

I started offering art classes to adults from the second room of my two bed flat in Wimbledon Village. It was mostly due to necessity. I had flat shared with every manic depressive/ suicidal/anorexic/ co-dependent/ dysfunctional /amorous/stalker/God- complexed/ alcoholic/paranoid in town (I am not joking, I can put a face to each of these) and decided if I were to live alone, I would need to moonlight. Classes were mainly attended by friends ( and the stranger I met on jury service). When I bought my one bedroom flat, I moved my classes to Wimbledon Village Hall and filled it to the rafters with said friends and colleagues and parents from Hall School Wimbledon. I called my business 'Outside the Lines.'

A year later I met Steve who encouraged me to give up my weekly late night bus commute, carrying bags of art equipment etc, and have a studio built in the garden.

I bought a kiln and threw my first hen party from the comforts of my home.

Nowadays, hen parties look slightly different in our garden;

For pictures of my new life model girls, you will just have to attend a party yourself! Believe me, he's gorgeous!

My classes are now full of friends, neighbours, friends of friends, some of whom have been attending classes for three to four years. Others trying out a course they found on the internet, busy adults with a creative urge and the art curious.
Our trips to art galleries have turned into water colouring in the South of France and long weekends to the Venice Biennale;

We take part in community art exhibitions and projects;

So, last night when I threw my students out onto the streets of Raynes Park to draw in public, they took it in their stride and dragged stools from the studio onto the pavement of Amity Grove.
Our focus was architecture. What was especially wonderful was the way in which they acted as if this was an every day occurrence and remained unperturbed by the gaze of onlookers, the suspicious stares, and were even surprised by the offers of cups of teas from a particularly joyful local resident. I love the opportunity the 'unusual' presents for serendipity. Life can be so sweet if we just dare to put ourselves 'out there'.

So, it is with great joy that I begin the next phase of my classes; I plan to open a formal school of art which will be part of Nicholas & Steele. Day time classes, evening and weekend courses will run from the studio attached to our shop. Guest teachers will also present craft courses such as floristry, cake decorating, crochet and knitting and various other dying crafts. I will also be introducing after school art clubs for children and help for GCSE art students. Hen parties will continue as well as new opportunities to celebrate various occasions.

Seven years ago it all began in a flat in Wimbledon Village. I look forward to the next seven years and am grateful to all my students for their support and bringing to every class their sense of adventure. I hope you are enjoying this journey as much as I am.

1 comment:

  1. You're amazing- I am in awe! And completely jealous of your current and future students!
    Thank you for the inspiration.
    Love an miss you