Monday, 26 September 2011

I hated Pru Venibrals.....

when I was at RMIT. I went there in 2000 to do an Honours year! My original study was at Chisholm institue of Technology in Frankston in 1987. I think is it Monash now. So it was nearly 15 years since I had been in an academic environment. Not that Chismolm was that academic. We spent most time making rather that thinking about what we were making. Which is probably what you need when you start out. The hand skills still need to be trained up. But in 2000, I knew most thinga about ceramics. I could make anything I wanted. But I felt stuck in a rut. I needed to be dug out, so I went to uni! Where Pru Venibrals was one of my teachers.

Pru kept asking me REALLY annoying questions, like "What are you doing?" and Why are you doing what you are doing?". I was a bit use to just following my nose. "Can't I just let the material talk to me? " I protested. Foolishly! This was what I needed to get out of the rut. Following my nose had only gotten me so far. I now had the skills, but I needed to know the "what" and the "why"! So Pru kept asking. She was very pushy! I hated her! I don't think I quite answered these questions while I was at RMIT. But I continue to try and be conscious of the "what " and the "why". Thanks Pru!


  1. Haha - what a great post! Thankyou.

    You are the first blogger brave enough to say such things. As i said in my prodding a while back, antagonism can be as powerful a motivator as admiration - it's heartening to know I'm not alone in these sentiments.

    Tell us more about the what and the why - the answers to the questions that dragged you out of the rut.

    What was it that made you feel stuck in the first place? What was happening (or not) in your practice and why did you choose RMIT?

    Lots of questions - thanks for the food for thought.


  2. Just shows how valuable good teachers can be. When we focus on the "what" and the "why" our work starts to come from us, it helps us to focus on the essence of what we make. Andrew Antoniou had this same impact on me a few years back when I attended his "Drawing from the Self" workshop at Sturt Summer School. He had a wonderful series of drawing exercises that extracted stuff from us that we didn't know was there. Little does he know he has had a big impact on my small work.