During my working life as an artist I designed and made clothes and accessories, made textile art, painted in watercolour, and made jewellery – though not all at the same time. I started by studying graphic design at Canterbury in the early 1970s, but changed direction and ended up doing my degree at Goldsmiths, in fine art/textiles. One thing I have always consistently done whatever else I was doing is to keep sketchbooks and draw.

Early on during my time at Goldsmiths I did a course of life drawing with Harry Thubron that he taught with his wife Elma, which woke me up to what drawing is all about. It was a shock – an abrupt, radical change of understanding and an experience that has stayed with me ever since. At the time I knew nothing about Harry and I was unaware of his legendary reputation as an art educator (though perhaps this was just as well as I was sufficiently overwhelmed by what I was learning as it was.) It’s only now that I fully appreciate how lucky I was to have been taught by him.

I’m now retired from professional work but I can’t imagine that I’ll ever stop drawing – at least I certainly hope not; drawing and writing are the ways in which I understand the world, the way I explore it and connect with it, and they are both so essential to me that I wonder how I’d manage to live without them.

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Deborah Rehmat

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