When we hit upon the idea to start Something Less Boring one of the cornerstones of what we wanted to offer was an environment where people were comfortable to enjoy and learn the process of creating their art work. We as people sought to be approachable, friendly and attentive. Supportive and encouraging too. Our motto on an art evening is "enjoy the journey, don't worry about where you arrive", essentially as long as the process was fun and you did it in good company and perhaps with coffee and a cake, then nothing else matters. And also the venue is very important to us, we wanted to offer somewhere nice, that offered good hospitality..................a step away from the classroom!
What we hadn't anticipated were the horror stories from school, the traumas of the art room! Now Liddy taught art at secondary school for 10 years and prides herself on how supportive she was. It seems not all art teachers shared her philosophy.
Many of our lovely customers meet us and begin with the line "I haven't done art since school". The current record being sixty years! A good number of those customers also add "and I was totally put off doing it again until now because my art teacher said........"
Some of the tales include the poor scarred student being asked of their work "shall I put this in the bin, or will you?". One of a teacher snatching a pencil away and breaking it so the pupil couldn't do anymore "damage". Another student was begged not to take art for GCSE (presumably as refusal might offend).
Now these anecdotes may be vaguely amusing now, but the memories have clearly stuck with the people who tell them and impacted on their lives. The joy of creativity taken away from them for so many years.
It's particularly satisfying however when the artists who have had these slings and arrows chucked at them in earlier life declare how much they've enjoyed their evening, but tinged with sadness that they've waited so long to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. We tend to temper that with the suggestion that the piece of art they have completed be dedicated to their art teacher of all those years ago. A symbolic middle finger to the lack of belief and sensitivity in their student.