Tuesday, 15 March 2011


somebody wrote me recently in regard to a workshop later this year and asked me what my 'objectives' were.
this is what i wrote

what a curious question. i've never considered "having an objective" for a workshop, as whatever results from the class is determined by 'x' unknown factors [insert number of students for 'x']. just as an audience determines whether interactive theatre will sink or swim, so too does a group of students.

 i intend to present a range of techniques and possibilities, tell a few stories and pull the odd surprise out of my sleeve. each workshop is a fresh page for me, who knows what will come of it.

but it made me think a bit. i'm not sure i have any objectives*. just dog-paddling [and cat-napping] with the tide and hoping for the best without being too fearful of what might happen

*as in for life in general, not workshops specifically - in case there was any confusion about that


  1. oh, god, this is great.
    having survived two masters programs in education i can write "behavioral objectives' in my sleep. do you know, each professor i had had an entirely different idea about what THAT was.
    i like your objectives, though, and teachers should be thinking about where the teaching commences and could go, and then the dog and cat show takes over.

  2. funny, isnt it, how we all seem to need to know where a journey ends even before it has begun...
    i must confess to having been a little "concerned" or "unsure" of where i was headed when i attended your first (or the first of yours that i attended) workshop in 2009. but now, having well and truly survived the wonderful way you allow the process to "just happen" and having attended another, and will go on attending your workshops, i am grateful for the freedom you give your "students". the freedom you give us allows us to take a technique and run with it, to make it our own rather than to replicate something that has been done before. this "neverending" practice has made my artwork much more enjoyable and i feel like your workshops dont ever end.... i am there, everyday, building on something you have said or shown me. i also thinks it takes a brave teacher to let go enough to let her students run wild! xo

  3. Very helpful India - I will be teaching a dye/surface design workshop next month. Your perspective makes fresh sense and takes some of the expectation I have of myself down a healthy notch. Thanks, sus

  4. My objective today was clear cut in my mind, the leaves had another objective.... how slow I am to learn the rules/non rules of leaves... lol

  5. I'm with velma.....
    all the pedagogy talk about 'objectives' and 'outcomes' and what-nots in education close down rather than open up the natural flow of ideas and individual learning.... (I think education boffins have been copying their homework from business students...)

    organic learning is in synch with the subject matter eh?

  6. i gave up having objectives when i retired. If someone were to ask me that question now it would send me into a tail-spin for months. You don't need them either, let the "dog and cat show" rule.

  7. i was asked yesterday the same question of my images '' what are your motives, what are you portraying '' . . i must admit, perhaps i am completely wrong to think this way, but to question the point , takes away from the creativity . . once you begin to analyze too much , and like you say, i too , have never stopped to think about my objective ( that's not to say i worry sometimes /ok- a lot! ) about the fact that i seem to aimlessly plod on . . not really sure of anything. . this is why i don't have an artists statement, which bothers people, so it must be me that's got it all wrong . . not them ! X

  8. Hello,
    thanks to see my blog ! I'm sure your lovely 'cause you love cat too ! :) (I've got 3)
    Kiss to your cat's family,

  9. This makes me smile. I am constantly being asked about my learning objectives and outcomes by funders who like to tick boxes. I so much prefer your way.

  10. I think that question is a symptom of the culture we live in....there HAS to be an objective/ reason /direction/explanation/ someone to blame etc, theres no room for the serendipitous, no understanding that you dont always need a planned route especially in creative terms.
    Wish I could attend one of your workshops but the buses take a while to get there from here.....lol
    Down with objectives. Rock on with creative and imaginative thinking and the commarderie of shared thoughts and ideas.

  11. thank you for the friendly contributions [and for that lovely bouquet, Sammiam].
    it seems to be that objectives are everywhere, even in the Child Detention Centres that have spawned throughout the settled areas of this country. [but that's another subject entirely]

    i woke up breathing this morning [a very fine start to the day]. then i stood for a bit and listened to the whirled until i worked out where i was and now i'm going to lay out some cloth [after i've opened some dye bundles] and see what will come of it.

  12. you are still traveling...to begin the day rejoicing in one's breath is a good way, and then fabric, but i would add toast and tea.

  13. sigh....
    sad to say, sometimes I think our educational system has oriented too many to focus on 'product' rather than 'process.'
    which leaves alot of people with an anxiety of 'is this 'correct?' is this 'allowed?'
    kind of a suburban psychosis thing.

    but i'm sure your workshops are just as calming and soothing and mentally expanding as your blog(s) and if this person is open to it; he/she will end up on a new and more 'open' path.

    not all who wander are lost.

  14. i just had to say, whether you have an objective or not (although wouldn't some form of (eco)print on fabric without toxic chemicals suffice?)the time I spent with you in one of your workshops gave me more than what your objective would ever hope to give - i learn't to make marks on fabric - my marks - the courage to explore, experiment and above all enjoy the journey - thank god for dogs and cats and of course you xxxx

  15. thank you for your kind words, Treasures of the Deep - each workshop [and for the record i never teach quite the same one twice] has an outline of the theme [which as you point out always includes the ecoprint]

    which is why the enquiry about objectives was so bemusing

    incidentally, no part of this discussion was intended as a belittlement of the person who wrote. am merely musing on the mysteries of modern life...

  16. my objectives now that uni is no longer on the cards. To be harmonious with what ever happens on any given day. Go with the flow. I love Taoism.

  17. Hi India. Having just read your post, l am even more gutted l can no longer do your May workshop. I love your statement and l am very impressed by what most people have written on here too. I feel most of what l want to say has been said..so l will shut up!xlynda

  18. life is about the journey...when we can truly be in the moment we are in then all is peaceful within...not yesterday or tomorrow...a lesson i have to re learn over and over...