This month we went to meet Cas Holmes who teaches a range of courses in our Arts and Craft provision for us. On meeting Cas it’s clear that she is a creative person and she exudes a sense of knowledge on her subject too. After cycling into the town to prepare for her class we took some time to ask Cas a little more about herself.
Favourite food: Chocolate
Favourite hobby outside of work: That’s hard it’s my life isn’t it, Art. I also enjoy walking and reading too
Favourite film: To Kill a Mockingbird
Favourite artist: Cas found it hard to answer this question as she admires so many such as Louise Bourgeois, Matisse and Hockney to name a few.
Favourite colour: All of them – it’s too hard to choose
What is a typical day like for you?
“There isn’t really a typical day. If I’m working from home I tend to start the day with admin, then get into the studio. My days can be anywhere from adult education to next week I’ll be in Arizona (more on this later).
You teach embroidery, textiles and drawing and painting courses for us, why such a broad range of Arts and Craft courses?
“I think Art is expanding, visual arts are about expansion of the mind and although I graduated as a fine artist, the majority of my early years earning a living were spent in the community so I had to be varied”. Cas has worked on a variety of projects such as creating puppets with the Spiral Arts Community Arts Team and working for local youth theatres too. It’s only more recently in the last 10 years or so that Cas’ own practise as an artist has become more established. “All of the skills I use are equally valid and relevant”. Cas was clear to emphasise that there is a core that runs through all of her work which is a use of found materials and that she tries to work with sustainable practice in mind too.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
“I learn from my students as much as they learn from me, the challenges and different expectations that they may have so that we can journey into somewhere new together, it’s open-ended”.
What made you become a tutor?
“I see them as parallels, teaching and being an artist. I’ve had a 20 year association with adult education and have been working in the community for years. You need to earn a living and if I stopped enjoying what I do, I would have to stop teaching”.
Why do you like working for Kent Adult Education?
“I’ve worked at a local centre for a number of years and in a life that takes me all over the place working locally has its value for me. It’s a team that I have built a relationship with over a number of years and they a good team to work for and with”.
What would you say to someone who isn’t sure about undertaking a course?
“You’ll never know what you’ll discover. Come inside and take a look at what we offer”.
Do you have a favourite student experience?
“I had a student who I nominated for an Adult Learners’ Week award who values not only the learning on the course as part of a discipline that she wants to understand within the creative arts, but she’s often in a lot of pain and says that coming to the classes gives her the focus and when she’s at home, she’ll carry on with some of the ideas and projects which helps to take her mind off of her pain and she enjoys what she’s doing.
It’s often a side of what we offer that does more than feed the mind, it feeds the body.”
What do you think makes you different from other tutors?
“Well I grew up in Norfolk, where the motto is ‘to be different’, my grandmother was a Romany gypsy. I share a lot with other tutors though in professionalism. I believe I’m respected for being a bit left of field in how I approach my classes in order for them to be totally involving. Education may happen in this building and it’s a business location but I bring an experience of working in quite diverse places and situations to this job”.
Cas has released a number of books regarding creative arts and her latest book, Stitch Stories is available now. It is Cas’ third book, her first was based around found objects and textile art and this book is a development on from this as it’s more narrative based and helps with how to generate ideas and how to tell stories in the creative process.
We were also lucky to ‘catch’ Cas as she was off to America to undertake a tour. “Quite recently in my creative practice I have been invited to teach and exhibit abroad and I’m fortunate that there is a degree of flexibility within KAE to help me do this”.
Cas Holmes on Tour
Cas went to Australia for 7 weeks in the summer and is off to San Diego to the Next Visions Arts Museum to exhibit her work throughout April and then has a one person show at a quilt festival in Luxembourg in May.
We’re really glad to have such a creative and world renowned tutor as part of our team here at KAE and can’t wait to see more from Cas and her students.Back to the Magazine