As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.
Welcome Morag McGee, teacher – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. When did you decide you wanted to be an art teacher/tutor/artist?
Like many folks at school I was not sure about going to art school directly, I thought about Architecture but a sagely teacher at Peterhead Academy steered me in the right direction. I kind of ‘fell’ into teaching a few years after graduation, I applied for a technicians role and was offered a couple of hours lecturing. I found I enjoyed it and loved passing on my experience to the students.
3. Where and what did you study?
I studied ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art, got a scholarship to do my PG(Dip) the year after.
Morag McGee in her studio, 'Strip the willow'
4. What is the best thing about being an art teacher/tutor/artist?
There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you’re ‘in the zone’ working on something you are pleased with, problem solving and seeing the results at the end of the day – it’s a lot like teaching except it’s great to see the students getting that sense of satisfaction from a hard days creativity!
5. How would you describe your style (clothes, art, home….whichever you choose)
My own work is quite humourous and full of personality. I am a ceramicist so if I'm not covered in clay, I smell of bonfires from all the outdoor firing I do at Grays!
6. Do you listen to music while you're working? If so, what?
Time passes incredibly quickly when I’m in my workshop, I listen to the radio to help me realise what time of day it is! I like to listen to 6 Music or Radio 2… It washes over me and I can zone into my work.
7. Which artist or designer inspires you most and why?
There’s so many and it changes regularly! Lucian Freud will always be in my top 5, especially his later works, the paint is so thick – it could be clay… However, I get inspired by different artists throughout the year – when teaching, I get a break from the clay and we look at artists working in the natural environment so now, I’m loving Turner, Goldsworthy and all the American Land Artists from the late 20th century.
8. If you could give one bit of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be?
Stop holding back and being lazy… work your a$$ off!
9. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become an artist or designer?
Draw, draw, draw. With the rise of digital media and new, fantastic ways of expressing your ideas, I still think there’s no substitute for analytical and observational drawing, it sharpens your skills and keeps you confident. If you can’t draw, they’re not going to let you into art college!
10. What’s your greatest achievement?
Training my chickens to tap on the window when they run out of water….
11. What three things would you still like to do before you die?
See all of Caravaggio’s work, have a house in France and stay happy
12. What’s your favourite food?
Anything made with good ingredients and a bit of love…. Other than that, nothing beats a chicken dhansak
13. Where was the last place you went on holiday?
Since we have been renovating our house, we have been holidaying in Northern France for the past few years – I really like the French way of life, they place huge emphasis on locality and especially when it comes to local artists – the French ceramics markets are an inspiration – I’m not sure much town centres in the UK would tolerate Raku firing and temporary kilns!
14. What was the last book you read?
The Political Animal by Jeremy Paxman, I go from one extreme to the other; non-fiction or extreme fiction, witches and vampires etc!
15. What is your biggest distraction?
I am the queen of procrastination but social networking is my worst habit – it’s a great way to meet and network with artists and customers but it’s also far too easy to lose 2 hours ‘checking your emails!’
16. If you ruled the world, what single act would you carry out.
I feel pretty strongly about women’s issues and how they are treated throughout the world – if I could erase thousands of years of sexism and oppression – that would be it.
17. Do you have any regrets?
I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done certain things differently but in the end, everything happens for a reason, so there’s no point in worrying about the past – I think this comes as you get a bit older!
18. In no more than five words, write your own epitaph.