Falmouth School of Art (1968-71)

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Mike Wilson: Technical Assistant and general fixer at the school has donated his collection of negatives from this period (1967-72). Most of the 35mm negatives were taken by John Wilkinson (Head of Photography Dept.) and are exceptionally sharp (he was the only one to own a Nikon camera with a great set of lenses).
Mike Wilson
Nothing was too much trouble for John Wilkinson, his enthusiasm kicked off as soon as the idea was being formulated, he seemed to be as young as the students. These pages contain photos he took especially for the prospectus and start from the year 1967 to 1972.
Paul Reece is on the right.
John Wilkinson with Paul Reece (right)
Paul Reece would make meticulous constructions out of Perspex, I remember the edges were perfectly chamfered.
Paul Reece working on bench perspex pyramid by Paul Reece
Julie Kendrick designed and organized a ballet based on the chess board, she carefully choreographed the actors to synchronize with the music she made.
Julie Kendrick organising ballet Julie Kendrick -Chess Ballet
Julie Kendrick - Chess Ballet
Between 1969-70 there was a big influx of money coming into the art school and one of its priorities was to step up the music side as some of the tutors were beginning to open up the constrains of the traditional learning map. The new Sound Dept. was headed by Howard Rees who purchased one of the first synthesizers, the VCS3. This was cutting edge for those times and we were able to mix down onto two reel to reel Revox tape machines. Below Howard is showing Barbara Allen some of the first tricks with the new oscillators.
Howard Rees with VCS3 synth Barbara Allen using VCS3 synthesizer
close up VCS3 Mike Wilson, Barbara Allen & Howard Rees
Clive Dilnot and Roger Clemens were in my year, they spent there time under the guidance of Ray Exworth (Head of Sculpture)
Clive Dilnot welding Roger Clemens
Dave Westby joined that year and produced powerful images that surprised the staff.
David Westby in Sculpture Dept
David Westby sculpture - motorcycle crash
Leonie would organise trips outside the school and the village of Flushing (across the river) would be popular, the odd easel would unfold and some people would catch winkles in the rock pools where they would be cooked and eaten within the hour. .................mouseover image for names.
Paul Guidici, Greta Bowen, Jonathan Pike, Linda Peat, Dave Westby, Mike Wilson, Tina Eden, John Bechewaise, Gerard Grant, Louis Turpin, Jenny Cave
Outing to Flushing - Jenny Cave in fgd
We'd get a visit from Bruce Lacey every year or so, with all the money sloshing around he had a great time wrapping up the students in plastic and throwing paint everywhere, maybe a few sacks of rotting cabbages thrown in for good measure............
Bruce Lacey Happening - Tont Eve, Barbara Allen, Julie Folley, Jennie Rosser
Bruce Lacey happening with Tony Batey and Julie Folley Barbara Allen, Jennie Rosser in happening
Tony Batey, Tony Eve, Julie Folley, Barbara Allen, Ian Figden, Jenny Rosser
Meanwhile John Wilkinson would be taking pictures of model Susan Yates with those irresistible Jill Donald jellies......
Susan Yates with Jill Donald's ceramic jellies

I was touched by the letter that former student Martina Weatherley wrote about Lionel (Letters & Obituary) that I felt it necessary to reproduce it here, she writes:

I don't know why I never thought to look up Lionel on the internet before now. I was momentarily very taken aback and very sad to learn that he had died, but then I found it impossible to think of him for more than a few moments without feeling very happy. I was a student at Falmouth School of Art between 1979 and 82, so it was my great good fortune to catch him or be caught by him, just before he left.

Our first conversation rescued me from homesickness and gave me the means to survive not just art school but everything, and his last words, on my last day; "I expect we'll meet again" were said in a way which left me feeling most unexpectedly honoured and hopeful - a feeling which has lasted for twenty five years.

As to our first encounter, I was near the start of my degree course when Lionel intercepted me and to my great surprise, invited me to have tea with him in his studio/office in the college. It was hard to get inside his room because the whole floor was covered in piles of paper and stacks of books. I immediately felt at ease. I thought it was like steeping inside a cave, full of paper stalactites but Lionel told me it was an enchanted forest and not to worry, he'd soon create a path for me..

Quite a few papers and books went flying as he cleared a space to sit down. Then he started to tell me a story. "The thing is," he explained, 'you need not worry. You are the heroine in this story. The heroine! Do you see? This place, this art school - it's an enchanted forest. And you are the heroine." And then he told me the story of my journey in life. He did not say that this was what it was about, but I understood and felt myself unable to stop smiling and smiling.

He said I would meet wicked witches and dragons - people who would try to put enchantments on me to make me forget who I am, or to harm me, or steal my gifts from me. He told me to be on my guard for this sort of creature even amongst people who were allegedly there to help me.

But equally well, he assured me, I'd meet with plenty of true helpers. He urged me to recognise them and listen to their advice and use whatever weapons and gifts they had it in their power to give me - indeed to use all my gifts well, including the ones I'd been given at birth. "The thing you must remember through it all, is that you are the heroine. You will find the prince. You will fulfill the quest. You will undo the bad magic or whatever it is you have to do. You will succeed." Words to that effect. The implication was encouraging. A story of self actualization, of becoming and healing and return, - one which spoke to my situation as it was, humourously and profoundly, and which has stayed with me ever since.

Martina Wheatherley's website

Below is a ceramic Lionel made in the 60s: Hare-Woman..........He describes the imagery as '...like the super-human animal
headed Egyptian Gods, the black back for night, the pale front for day, the black Pluto figure in his Underworld tomb...and the two dancers for the music of existence.' She was found under a caravan near Goonhavern in 1996 and is on loan to the Museum of Witchcraft................................................................................................. (photo courtesy of Museum of Witchcraft, Boscastle).........Witchcraft Museum website
Hare Woman - Lionel Miskin Lionel Miskin reading
Louis Turpin painted and made films during these years and the photography department had just started to introduce filmmaking on a regular basis. It was a good time to experiment as we were the first year to set foot on that territory.
Louis Turpin in the painting studios
Below are some scenes from Louis film 'Capricorn' that was shot in the Ship & Castle pub.
Capricorn- Mike Wilson Mike Wilson smoking
lady at the bar Mike chatting with locals
Mike on his own Mike on his own again
Francis Hewlett: Painting Dept. Principal Lecturer David Heseltine: Ceramics Dept. Lecturer / Demonstrator
Francis Hewlett David Heseltine - ceramics lecturer
Derek Wilshaw: Lecturer in the Ceramics Dept. looks as if he might have influenced Jill Donald with his work but it was the other way round.
Derek Wilshaw ceramics lecturer Derek Wilshaw ceramic sculpture
Jill Donald's ceramics for the Diploma Show - 1970
Jill Donald ceramics- Diploma Show
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