I am a student. I am in my final year of a BA in Contemporary Crafts, specialising in jewellery.

Up until recently I can’t say it’s been the most enjoyable experience of my life but I finally feel like it could go somewhere. I spent a lot of time worrying and feeling guilty that I was doing a course for selfish reasons, purely out of a love of creating. I know, logically, there is nothing wrong with that. You are always told to follow your dreams after all! But I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling my dream, maybe because I was making the wrong things, maybe because I was using the wrong materials, the wrong tools…having the wrong ideas? 100% because I was worrying too much, and then worrying because I was worrying…and then worrying because I was worrying and I wasn’t sure if anyone knew how much I was worrying and I needed help.

Over the summer I stopped and thought and wrote notes because that’s what I love to do, mainly to procrastinate but sometimes it ends up actually leading to something.
I needed to find a way to not feel selfish. I need what I do to somehow have a positive effect on other people or things. Not to just be something pretty but something that can help someone.
I thought about other things that I love, directions I maybe would have followed if I hadn’t chosen this course. I love psychology, I love trying to understand people. I want to learn about how people work and what people feel. I’ve thought about art therapy for a long time and it is still a pathway I would love to follow. To use creativity to help someone and improve someone’s life is kind of my idea of perfect. 
But to be a qualified art therapist I’d have to do a masters which I’d have to fund, there are also parts of art therapy (the psychotherapy side) that I’m not sure I can see myself being a part of.

So…what now? I did work experience at a special school when I was in school and I loved it, I saw the sensory room…and I loved it. Having a mother that teaches in a primary school and deals with special needs, a father that taught in a college and a sister that is a teaching assistant (for now) in a special needs school, it is no surprise that I am interested in working with children and working with special needs.
So I started thinking about the sensory room and thinking maybe I can use that as my inspiration. 
This developed in to a desire to create jewellery for children and adults with special needs. Sensory jewellery, like a portable sensory room.
An aid that can be subtle or obvious but will help maybe just by being something that the wearer can fiddle with; to calm or to help concentration etc.

I don’t know if this even has to end at special needs; what about anxiety, addictions, dementia? My Grandad suffers with alzheimer’s and while I’m almost certainly too late for him, witnessing what a horrible disease it is, if I could make something that could ease the anxiety of sufferers fighting to remember or even trigger memories, that would be amazing and I would feel on my way to fulfilling that dream. 

So I’m starting with touch, I’m sure this is going to be a very long road and I don’t know where it’s going but I’m excited (and nervous) to find out. I’m looking at textures for now and what they mean to people, how they can make a person feel. Can they be relaxing, distracting, aggravating, playful?

I’m going to be paying attention to what I find myself fiddling with while I’m concentrating or distracted etc and that will be the content of my next (hopefully not so long) post! 

I don’t know if this is out there on the internet for other people to read or not and if it is I don’t know who can or who will read it, but if I have somehow managed to get it out there…thank you for taking the time to read these ramblings! 

Kate V M Sylvester, ‘orange singlet’, 2015.
#melbourneartist #katevmsylvester #fabricart #contemporarycraft