Flavour of the month – By @currantjones

Flavour of the month

One of my favourite words (is it weird to like particular words for no reason?) is edifying, which means to give instruction but comes from the Latin to build. I always imagined learning was like building. A teacher or experience would hand you a block of knowledge and you would add that to your stack, meaning you stood a little higher and saw a little clearer. But recently learning has felt a little more like a bludgeoning.

Each correction, each piece of advice has made me smaller. I have shrunk into myself, away from the words that I hear as criticism and not critique. What I am doing is wrong, or perhaps even I am wrong, my instincts off and my ideas uninteresting. These are the self pitying routes my mind has favoured. And this while surrounded by plenty of people who seem to be expressing themselves fluently and authentically.

A portfolio is not an exhibition of good work it is an exhibition of your good work. It is inherently personal. In my response to teaching I have been adaptive, attempting to fit myself to the briefs and the works set rather than shaping them to my ends. The work has been flat, personalityless and, worst of all, sellable.

But I am emerging. 

Confidence, which often feels like a house cat coming and going of its own accord, has trickled back. And with it advice is no longer an attack but a new stone to seal up a hole in my defences. My work is becoming just that, my work. Distinctly and aromatically Tommy. A flavour not for everyone certainly, but hopefully a taste that pleases a few. 

Confidence is probably not as fickle as I give it credit for. By having a routine, by doing more work and by talking to the right people, I make myself feel good. This is something I know and something which any SCA student has been told from Day -7. It’s frustrating it’s taken this long to learn my lesson but I am glad that I’ve learned it. 

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