Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

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Back to School, again!

I am really excited to share that I will be starting the MA Fine Art program at the University of Plymouth next week.

After deferring my other offers to 2022, I ended up withdrawing my applications (even with a £5,000 bursary attached to one of them) as I was/am still not all that comfortable with the continuing pandemic and needing to live in student housing, etc. Plus the costs of relocating to Ireland or too far away to compute to in the UK added huge costs. As I now live in Plymouth I won’t have to add the additional living costs to my school budget.

I had budgeted for living abroad before the pandemic started, but it threw my plans off. Living with roommates who didn’t share my concerns was very stressful. It really isn’t all that comfortable now, either, as I appear to be the only person still wearing a mask everywhere I go, but I will continue to take the actions I feel necessary.

The program is part-time over three years which suits me. I can continue working in the glass studio, have regular semester and summer breaks, etc. Tuition and supplies expense will be spread out too, which will be convenient. The campus is a 20-minute bus ride from the stop right outside my front door as well, which is fantastic.

The program I am joining is a small cohort of only ten people which includes all candidates in the program – first through third year. I was told that most on campus sessions (one per week) would consist of fewer than ten. That will keep me happy about contact with the masses and I’ll still be wearing a mask – probably the only one, but that doesn’t bother me.

And interesting, to me, in both MA applications that I’ve done, they have been keenly interested in my make-up and theatrical work – this interviewer, right off the top, said she hoped I would be bringing in my prop and costume skills to the program. Wanted to know if I had stopped doing that, as in completely retired. I assured her I was still happy to use all the skills. My last production closed in February 2020 and I hadn’t worked in the field since due to the pandemic lockdowns. It wasn’t a choice I made, but rather one I was forced into by circumstances.

Since I submitted my application (which was on September 7 online – totally last minute) my mind has switched into creative mode – I’m keeping notes of all the ideas that are popping into my head for creations and what media to mix to make them. I submitted a research proposal with the application for an area of interest I want to develop and I’ve got some interesting concepts brewing. I think glass is going to definitely be playing a role.

Induction is next Thursday. I still have to get all the paperwork done – the professor who interviewed me made the offer on the spot at the end of the interview, and I accepted. But it all has to go back through Admissions to get me actually registered and enrolled, fees paid, etc. I’m just waiting for emails so I can get it all done.

I am really happy to be getting back to school… I can understand how people can be “professional students.” It is so much fun learning and being creative in ways you hadn’t tried before and interacting with others who are there for the same reasons.

I’m having to set-up a workspace at home, Last night ordered a shelf/desk combo from IKEA which will be perfect (had to measure the space available in my room first!)

The IKEA desk I’ve ordered

The desk won’t be delivered until October 2nd, and delivery cost a fair bit BUT they will carry it upstairs. That is worth paying for.

I have a certain amount of art materials, obviously, and access to many more in our household as there is a room that is JUST art and craft materials and equipment which I can utilize. I am silently repeating my mantra “repurpose, reuse, recycle” as in, DO NOT buy new stuff if there is a suitable alternative to hand. I put a moratorium on myself to stop buying make-up many years ago, and it worked, I actually started to make a profit with my business. I do have excellent willpower and believe delayed gratification is a good thing.

Orcas at Sunset