Not much time to work on any plates today due to other commitments and having to administer maths test which took me out of the art room. I did have time to work on a ‘mind map’ of ideas about how one becomes an art teacher whilst the children sweated over their tests.

Or how this art teacher became one anyway. One of the themes in the work, quite a difficult theme to get across really, is the blind alley, the inappropriate model, the lack of a mentor, the poor advice that can have quite an effect on ones progress through all of this. There are so many people who have very fixed ideas about what they mean about ‘standards’ and ‘skills’ in art that their advice can have a deleterious effect on the young artist. Not to mention the ‘common sense’ views of art that plague one as one is growing up and that are still heard with amazing regularity, in Lowestoft anyway.

It is a testament to the ineffectiveness of decades of art teaching that so many people still hold the view that it ain’t a proper picture if you can’t tell what it is. This is in contrast to the millions who pack Tate Modern and the whole idea of building galleries in godforsaken towns to magically regenerate them. Is this generational? Or is it class based?

But, whatever the ins and outs of all that is, the main point as far as this is concerned is the act of making the maps of influences and tracks of progress or not. Learning journeys tend to be presented as an onward march of progress towards whatever happy, sunny upland the learner currently views the world from but that isn’t the case at all. Well, not for this learner. We are talking here about years of wasted time making paintings that were no use to anyone. Unsold and unloved things. One of the problems students have with the notion of the ‘reflective learner’ is negotiating with the idea that their honest reflections are assessment suicide if they own up to not getting it.

Thinking about ‘not getting it’ or not being told what it was to get and so on made me think more about the people who had been there along the way and I start thinking there’s a plate in that and another one in that. What is a plate about Roger Dean going to look like? Pretty far out, I should think. That wouldn’t have occurred to me without the mapping exercise. The process excavates ideas.

The kiln cooled down this morning and Shirley got a set of plates out. They looked pretty good. I’ll photograph them all tomorrow.