Wolverhampton School of Art

Patty Wouters: The Dean's Prize for Excellence in MA Design and Applied Arts: Q&A

We’ve caught up with graduate Patty Wouters who has been awarded The Dean's Prize for Excellence in MA Design and Applied Arts!

Patty WoutersWhat degree did you study with us?

I did an MA in Design and Applied Arts with Ceramics as my major and graduated in October 2015

What did you do after graduation?

I did my BA some thirty years ago and started my own studio in 1987. Later on I had a job as a manager of an Art Education Center, where I organized weekly courses, workshops and master classes. I combined this job with teaching workshops myself and exhibiting my own ceramic art work.

In 2009 I got an 80% teaching job at the Art Academy in Turnhout, Belgium and I am continuing doing this job. I am responsible for the ceramic studio and teaching twenty five students every week.

In the past I have been curating several exhibitions. In 2010 I organised an International Porcelain exhibition in the gallery of the Art Academy where I teach. Last year I was asked by a Gallery in Holland to curate a similar exhibition. This is growing into an international travelling exhibition with two locations in Holland and four locations in Belgium.

I am also working in my own studio, experimenting more with paper porcelain, the material I used to make my work for my final presentation which was also shown during the MA show in September 2015.

Patty WoutersWhat’s the best part of your job?

I love teaching! I love sharing my knowledge and experience with people who are eager to learn about ceramics.

I think I can also be proud of my organisation skills. Therefore I also love organising and curating exhibitions and organising workshops and master classes.  The contacts with other ceramic artists are always very interesting. We exchange information and most of the time there is an atmosphere of “brother/sisterhood” and good understanding.  Because I have been curating several exhibitions throughout the past twenty years and because I organised master classes for which I invited artists from all over the world, I had the chance to develop an international network. I have ceramic friends and colleagues in many countries in Europe as well as Eastern countries and the States. It happens that I get invited to teach in these countries. Next summer I will be teaching for the third time at Hanyang Summer School in Seoul, South-Korea.

How did studying at the University of Wolverhampton help you?

Studying at the University of Wolverhampton has encouraged me to start experimenting again with materials which I have always been fascinated. The past eight years my art work had stagnated and I felt there was little evolution. Studying at University of Wolverhampton and being guided by my tutor, David Jones has helped me incredibly to make new steps, to let my ceramic work evolve into new directions.

Patty WoutersWhat, for you, was the best part of studying at the University of Wolverhampton?

As a Belgian resident I couldn’t be at the university and participate at all the lectures. I was actually on a “long distant learning program” which meant that I did a lot of research in my own studio, in libraries in Belgium or on the internet. The tutorials took place either through skype, through Email or by telephone calls. But certain periods I had almost weekly tutorials with David Jones. I felt very much supported and guided. He encouraged me very much to go beyond my safe comfort zones and boundaries but at the same time stay true to myself.

The weeks that I could come to the university I also enjoyed being there. I realised how much I missed the contact with my fellow students.

What’s next for you?

I feel tempted to send in my new work for international competitions and hope that it will be selected. I also hope to be able to participate at some exhibitions in the UK as well as in Belgium and other European countries.

I also hope to do something with my experience as a curator. It would be nice if the porcelain exhibition I am organizing in Belgium and Holland could be exhibited somewhere in the UK.

Patty's website can be found here!

To find out more about MA Design and Applied Arts, see here!

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