Sunday, 12 September 2021


September 6,8 and 10

Oh! I am here. Beginning to finish what I started in 1974.


I am on the Art Access Course at Carmarthen School of Art.

“The Access to Higher Education qualification is a course tailored for adults who wish to return to education. Maybe it is time for a career change or maybe you did not have the chance to go to university due to family commitments.” (‘adults’ their italics)


Access, rather like a Foundation course, the equivalent of doing three ‘A’ Levels in one year. Says the man who left school with six all of GCEs all at grade six.  The program runs for one year, three terms, three days a week.



Here’s our room, say ‘Hi’ to everyone. 

Grab a desk, 

grab a chair, 

find yourself a drawer in one of the Plans Chests. Make sure you label it.


Our tutor throughout this year is Sarah, she is an established practising artist too.


Across the day we get the skinny* on the course, how to be successful, what’s expected.


In the morning also a spirited introductory presentation to us and the Foundation Course group from the Heads of the School, Jamie and Amelia.  All the opportunities, growth, and values of the college are laid before us. Go for it being their key message.


This term, as far as I can figure, we are doing six modules from now until December 17, Ceramics, Textiles, 2D, Drawing, Print Making, and Communication Skills.


Exhausted, at lunchtime I wander into the print making studio. Wow! Loads of presses including two Victorian flights of engineering fancy; Albion presses, early cast iron hand printing press and still going strong. I meet the Head of the department and am determined to spend a lot of time here across the coming weeks.


Cutting out like Matisse; across the afternoon we work with coloured paper, scissors and glue to create art. Moderate success for me and the activity got us all thinking!

Making like Matisse




We are in the life drawing studio (huge) and with a table-top still life set up. We are drawing from about 10:30 through 3:30 This is the activity that makes us strong. Paper, charcoal, pens and paint. We are left to our own devices with Tutor Sarah coming round to encourage and suggest. 

I suspect this a just a gentle warm up to some hard-core drawing instruction just around the corner. The tip of a hard and disciplined iceberg.  


Come 3:45 I walk down the hill (one which is vertical by the way, when I walk up it in the morning) and catch my bus home to Laugharne at 3:55.

The Big Draw

Wednesday: Drawing and Painting




Ceramics introduction from Head of Department Tom Fisher. 


He dances us around this kingdom, showing us his riches, riches that we will, after next week enjoy every Friday morning. 


His message is totally clear: turn up, tune in and hand your assignments in on time and we’ll all be good. Phew.


Like every organisation in the known world, we have an IT ‘platform’ on which we will run our lives here. 

Folks it’s all on Google. So, we have a session learning the digital ropes according to Google. I stray into doing one of the online assessments, politely called ‘Number’ and the results from this throw my childhood struggle with math back into sharp focus.



Facilities and mindset**...

The facilities, studios, the kit and wonderful tutors all in place.

Mindset: have a go, there’s loads of support, the facilities are there to be used. All the lecturers are there to teach and coach – so go stretch.



*Skinny: US, informal.: the true information about someone or something that is not known by most people.


** 'You don't object to our using of the expression 'mindset' do you sir? Mr Hector doesn't care for it. He says if he catches any of us using it he'll kick our arses from bollocks to sundown sir' Alan Bennett – The History Boys.

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim