RHYMNEY VALLEY EXPRESS
WOMAN THE PAGE WHERE WOMEN SPEAK OUT!
A MASTERS DEGREE DREAM!
Taking art from museums to the streets
Thursday November 9 1989
ARTIST Tracey Sanders_wood's dream of a study trip to the USA is set to flounder if a sponsor to cover its costs does not come forward. Tracey is appealing for local companies to raise the cash for her chance to take a Masters degree in an American college. Now living in Manchester with her archaeologist husband, she has written to many companies in the North West of England asking for sponsorship. "I moved to Manchester 4 years ago after I did my foundation course and degree in art at Newport," she said. Now I am trying to get funding so that I can go to Cranbrook Academy of Art or The School of the Arts Institute of America in the USA to do my M.A. It would be a two year course and Cranbrook is a professional graduate school. It would be of interest to me because of my interest in clothes and textiles, and I'd be able to gain experience in their different techniques and ideas."
But a lot of companies in the North have told me they'd like to sponsor people from their own area. So I'm appealing to Rhymney Valley companies to help me. "Really I want to become a lecturer, so that extra experience will make the world of difference to me. The reason I moved North was to pursue my interest in working with textiles and Manchester has a very long history in that field. I started working in cottons, silks and other fabrics. I am now working with graphics there. But one of the most important things I'm doing is taking art out into the community."
"Much of Tracey's work is performance based. "I designed costumes for a play in Manchester called Shrinking Violets, I took the theme of violets and put them on plain fabric for all of the costumes. One character, Nelly, was really brash, so I decided to give her enormous violets!"
"I also did a something called 'Spookie Boogie Bolton', which was a performance of all Bolton's ghost stories to mark the queens visit to the town. Making costumes for a crinoline lady and a highway man and a lot of the costumes were highly embroidered." One of Tracey's most famous performances was on a 125 Inter-City train from London to Cardiff. "It was around the time there was a 'Frankie Says . . . ' t-shirt craze and I hated that! So I did a nine-part image with a colour and letter coded system on each t-shirt. I constructed a performance on a train so that more people would see it than if it was in a gallery or arts centre. The piece was called 'Mission Hiller and Mike Upton' as Susan Hiller and Mike Upton were two odf my targets for the performance."
And Tracey was set to become an award winner, becoming one of the famous Fullbright Scholars, like poet Sylvia Plath. Taking art away from the gallery and into the streets to involve the public has always been one of Tracey's aims. Now the hunt is on to help Tracey achieve her ambition and study in America. But taking a look back at her roots Tracey encouraged budding Rhymney Valley artists to stick with it.
"The best advice you can get is to study art at school. Then go on and do a foundation year. That will lead you into what you're interests are from there.
"My teachers at Heolddu Comprehensive School were great. Art was all I was really interested in, and they gave me a lot of encouragement'