Talk us through your career path since graduating
I came [to West Dean] when I was fifty eight and had already been working for a long time both as an artist and lecturer. I had also just completed my first book when I began the MFA.
When the creative writing team found out about this, they generously offered to organise my first book launch as part of a learning moment for their students.
Unexpectedly when I was doing my course I became ill. This illness resulted in a very serious condition which meant when I completed the course I actually had to accept that I had become an invalid.
In the spaces between my illness I have started to paint on a smaller scale and I have begun a new book. I prepared and recorded lecture performances connecting my experiences with illness as opportunities to develop my artistic language. These works will be launched in September as part of a new course studying counselling and biography.
How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?
When I first met David Stent, my head of department, I said to him I wanted to attend the MFA because my painting needed a medical intervention. I came because I wanted to literally whitewash all my current work and begin again.
Teaching, tutorials, the most incredible space and resources helped. Lectures,field trips, access to ceramic workshops and the sheer beauty of the site did too.
The space where we ate, the incredible staff and the generosity of the school in making festive occasions made it rich and satisfying.
I found my new direction and a new artistic confidence as well.
Do you have any tips for recent graduates?
My advice to students would be to dare to follow your own questions and interests without fear and to form supportive friendships with your fellow students.
What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?
My most joyful memories of being at West Dean were the hard won moments of breakthrough and the incredible beauty of the walk to the studios.This is an amazing place to learn whether you are at the beginning of a training or whether you are refinding a way of working that needs transformation.
Find out more about the Master of Fine Art (MFA) programme here.