Falmouth School of Art (1968-71)

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Kerris Vean (Falmouth School of Art) from lawn

Julie Folley remembers:

Mr. Cole pretended to be a fierce Sargeant Major, but was actually soft-hearted to us young and innocent girls who had arrived straight from home...and was always saying to me...'It's alright , I'm not really cross ' !  Missing some home comforts, he would let me use the bath, which was in a tiny bathroom situated at the top of Kerris Vean. I would arrive on a Saturday morning and he would give me a special key, not for the door, but to turn the water on at the stopcock. 

Anselm Van Rood

That bath was also used for life drawing. I remember sketching one of the life models who was lying full length in the bath (full of water), with Anselm Van Rood instructing us students who, armed with our sketch books, completely surrounded her. Whilst we were trying really hard ourselves, Anselm, who's painting technique was to stare intently at the subject matter-(in this case Joyce) before putting down a mark, didn't notice that the water was getting cold. I remember Joyce saying some time later when I met her in the street, that he seemed to be so intensely involved in his work that she hadn't dared move to let him know.


Derek Wilshaw The pottery dept. was the place I went to on the first day of my Foundation year. After a little chat, Derek Wilshaw said that we were going down to the beach ! I thought ' This is very different from school '. Actually we were going to each find a pebble, which we would use as inspiration for making a pebble pot.
I think that it was the first time that I'd really looked at something in 'that way' that would have some kind of special meaning for me, and I still do it now. I did make a pebble pot, and then a kind of Neanderthal figurine I named Audrey. Whilst in the pottery dept, I was coerced into making something for a college 'mag '.
I decided that for my contribution, I'd make individual clay mummies that would ( wait for it ! )...each fit into peanut shells, so that each person who had a magazine,would also receive a unique piece of art. The terra-cotta figures were even fired in the kiln.

The kiln was used to roast the pig for the medieval banquet. I remember checking on it because I was one of the maids. I also remember coming in from the country the next morning, to help clear up.....there weren't many of us left in a fit state by the morning to do that job !

Unfortunately the establishment has grown into a monster to such an extent that artist and lecturer Tim Shaw released an open letter where he was critical of the university’s CEO, Professor Anne Carlisle, who has an annual salary and benefits of £285,900. Lecturers recently went on strike after she received a 25% pay rise, when they are were being offered just 1.1%......how times have changed.

The 1970-71 Foundation Year identity card had an impostor on the lower right. Arnold Ramm was found to be painting lecturer Dick Platt, a typical in joke by John Wilkinson. I was innocent then and didn't know the meaning of ram.
1971 Falmouth Foundation year identity sheet-William Sampson, Reginald Hughes,David Tellam, Jasmine Nanchelas, Jean Smith, Michael Seccombe, Peter Smith, Susan Lea, Angela Lewis, Bridie Maguire, Timothy Pinhay, Susan Malcom, John Bechewaise, Michael Tumbull, Judy Wain, Jeanne Willoughby, Judy Crowle, Christian McCulloch, John Smallwood, Jo Booth, Tina Eden, Gerard Grant, Arnold Ramm
Dick Platt: Senior Lecturer helping out a student.
Dick Platt with student
The new painting studios had just been finished by the time we arrived, there were showers, canteen, common room, lecture theatre, in fact we had everything.
New painting studios - Falmouth School of Art
The Caretaker Mr. Cole used to be in charge of meals in the old 'Rosehill' building until the new canteen opened, it took a while to get used to but we all soon settled in, a nice hot boiled egg roll was favorite - cheap and filling (for small stomachs).
New canteen01 new canteen02
We all got used to the spacious common room in the new building, Jonathan Pike and Carol Cheek play chess.
Jonathan Pike & Carol Cheek playing chess
Keith Critchlow was a regular visitor with his theories on the sacred geometry, he got the students to construct one of his inflatable geodesic domes. I remember him mostly for his mind blowing lecture on the geometry of Chartres Cathedral and it's relationship to the solar/ lunar calender.
Keith Critchlow Geodesic dome
...and after the mind blowing lecture we were left to hover.............................Book of Kells illumination detail
Charles Hancock: Lecturer in Textiles
Charles Hancock: Lecturer textiles sowing machine
sowing machine singer
Peter Redgrove: Complementary Studies Lecturer Anselm Van Rood: Lecturer Painting Dept.
Peter Redgrove Anselm Van Rood

I remember the first week's lesson with Peter Redgrove, there were too many of us in his study so some of us had to sit on the floor, we looked up in anticipation. He said "What would you like me to talk about?", after a few moments we replied "Sex", then "Death", then '"Myths", as these were interesting subjects at that age (actually any age). For the next six weeks he began to formulate those three subjects into a fantastic tapestry that captivated us all, I think it was true to say that we were all converted from that day on.

A Lucid Dreamer book coverDerek Toyne - Librarian at Falmouth School of Art 1968Derek Toyne who was Librarian at Falmouth School of Art from 1966 remembers Peter at the event in 2012 to celebrate the publication of 'A Lucid Dreamer. The Life of Peter Redgrove', by Neil Roberts.

At the meeting were Penelope Shuttle, Neil Roberts, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Sheffield University, novelist and poet D.M.Thomas, poet Caroline Carver, poet and University contemporary of Redgrove's Harry Guest, poet and University College Falmouth lecturer Rupert Loydell.

Part 1 of the event is here: http://vimeo.com/38095828

Part 2 of the event is here: http://vimeo.com/38097795

Below is a clip of Derek from the event.

Peter Redgrove in study

Neil RobertsNeil Roberts remembers:

I didn't get to know Peter Redgrove till many years after the time commemorated here, but I was first drawn to him by a poem that he wrote during those years, and that was inspired both by the environment of Falmouth and by a figure who briefly insinuated himself into the FSA scene, John Layard (to whom it is dedicated). The poem is 'The Idea of Entropy at Maenporth Beach', about a woman dressed in white, running along the beach after mud-bathing in the nearby boggy wood—

The mud spatters with rich seed and ranging pollens.
Black darts up the pleats, black pleats
Lance along the white ones, and she stops
Swaying, cut in half. Is it right, she sobs
As the fat, juicy, incredibly tart muck rises
Round her throat and dims the diamond there?

I loved the sensuality and humour of this poem, and sought out more of his work. Eventually I wrote about it. It was typical of him that he always responded very generously to people who showed an interest in his work, and he wrote me a long letter, starting a correspondence that lasted until his death in 2003. I first met him in 1985, shortly after his acrimonious resignation from FSA, when he came with Penelope Shuttle to give a reading in Sheffield. I took them for lunch to a nearby pub where the bar was supported by a pair of rather kitsch caryatids. We were debating whether they were real wood, and I went across to find out by feeling them. A phrase Peter liked to use of himself was 'Scientist of the Strange', meaning among other things someone who trusts to the non-visual senses, and he said to Penny, 'Don't you think Neil is a scientist of the strange, the way he felt the caryatids?' I came to realise that this was an example of his trickster-like habit of catching you slightly off-guard. In my case I think he liked to disrupt my academic persona.

Another time, I was visiting him in Falmouth for an interview. You can read the interview in a book of Peter's writings, The Colour of Radio, where you will get the impression that it was a very sober affair. Actually huge amounts of wine and beer were drunk during the day, which seemed to affect Peter not at all, but caused me to delete the last of the tapes because I was mortified by the sound of my voice. We went of course to a pub for lunch. I was sitting with my back to the window, he facing it, and he suddenly said, 'My God, look at that woman's tits!' Again, he was trying to get me off-guard. In this same conversation I commented that he looked rather like the notorious magician Aleister Crowley, and asked if he had ever met Crowley. 'No,' he replied, 'but my mother may have.' It wasn't until I was researching his biography, years later, that I found out he was seriously obsessed by the thought that he might be Crowley's illegitimate son, and would have like this to be true, since he had a poor relationship with his actual father.

But Peter wasn't just a trickster and fantasist. He was a deeply serious writer and thinker. One of the strongest memories I have of him is in his later years, when the formerly robust man had been undermined by diabetes and Parkinson's, standing outside his house in Falmouth, telling me how important his work, and his vision of life, were to him. He spoke with an intensity that I can only compare with Carl Jung's account of talking to a Native American elder about his worship of the sun: 'Although no one can help feeling the tremendous impress of the sun, it was a novel and deeply affecting experience for me to see these mature, dignified men in the grip of an overmastering emotion when they spoke of it.'

It was a great privilege for me to have known Peter, as it must have been for the generations of students he taught in Falmouth.

Neil Roberts is the author of A Lucid Dreamer: The Life of Peter Redgrove and editor of Collected Poems and The Colour of Radio: Essays and Interviews by Peter Redgrove.

Meanwhile the Sculpture Dept. was revealing a metal sculpture from it's cast.
1971 sculpture-metal casting metal casting
Phil Hogben at the lathe. Richard Dunn: Sculpture student
Phil Hogben getting lost in the machines Richard Dunn sculptor
David Heseltine: Ceramics Dept. Lecturer..(photo courtesy of Anny Brinjes) Unknown sculpture...or maybe it's just someone's coat?
David Heseltine - Ceramics unknown sculpture
Unknown sculpture Dave Stevenson sculpture from the 1970 Diploma Show.
Dave Stevensons sculpyure Dave Stevenson
Dave Thomas painting student................................Dave Thomas's website James Van Hear: Deputy Principal
Dave Thomas James Van Hear - Deputy Principal
Ray Hopley: Sculpture student Peter White: Sculpture student
Ray Hopley Peter White
James Dudley Ward Barbara Hill preparing for her diploma show
James Dudley Ward Barbara Hill -Diploma show
Barbara Hill rainbow on floor
The locals have seen something and are getting worried............one of the students has to go and mediate.......
locals have seen something local getting worried
but it's OK it's only a 'Happening'...................this is from 1967 and I couldn't resist it.
1967 Happening - Fox Rosehill Gardens
...things started to get out of hand.........
Happening on Fox Rosehill GArde bench
.......In fact it got a lot more out of hand later in the night......
2nd Happening group happening
scary happening group looking down
........and then they all fell asleep.
all asleep....
Back in the sane world the head of painting Francis Hewlett shows off his string vest.
Francis Hewlett's string vest - Falmouth School of Art
It could be said that I had my own happening as I recruited staff and students to be the apostles at the Last Supper sequence for the film 'Cathedral'. The make up had to be in negative that would eventually be reversed back to positive in the final print to achieve a weird effect but as it turned out it was only partially successful but that's part of the deal with experiments.
students waiting for the camera setup - Cathedral
Dave Westby and Lionel Miskin waiting to be called on set. Jim Langham, Clive Edwards, Ian Fogden, Robin Birch, Simon Dobbs, Lionel Miskin
David Westby & Lionel Misking waiting in VW van Jim Langham, Clive Edwards, Ian Fogden, Robin Birch, Simon Dobbs, Lionel Miskin as the apostles
Last scene as Jill Donald grabs the Holy Spirit (sheet of plastic) off the table and flings it over the cliff in Swanpool.
final scene Last Supper
View of harbour from Erisey Terrace of The Kings Hotel
Click below to view photo galleries left to us by John Wilkinson. The list on the left is for browsers that accepts the Adobe flash system while the list on the right is for devices that use html5 system.
Art School photo Gallery01 GAllery one Gallery 01 for html5 Gallery Two Gallery Three

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