Dear Mr Richards

Dear Mr Richards,

I'm sure we're much more likely to be on first name terms now I'm turning 46 but I think I'd probably struggle to call you Peter...

This letter will certainly be arriving unexpectedly to you but it's something that I've written many times in my head, certainly at this time of year, the end of the school.  There are often times when the question is asked, 'Who was your favourite teacher?' and whilst the next few hundred words might be slightly, who am I kidding I've already balled my eyes out, uncomfortable to write, they are important.  

Being taught by you, undoubtedly changed the direction of my life.  I arrived small;  my work was careful and tight and since my time in the studio under your direction, has never been that way since.  I was headed for dance college, when I left Eltham it was for Art Foundation at Ravensbourne which I loved so much I stayed another three years on BA in Fashion and Textiles, I got a first by the way.

What was it that was special about A-level Art in your department?  

  • Our mini studio booths - a tiny space that was all mine for two whole years, to be returned to white for the next inhabitant.  
  • The boiler suits - a break from the kilt, a uniform to support the freedom that you created.
  • Weekly life drawing - the discipline, please tell me you still lead classes?
  • The print table - oh how I've longed for one of my own since...
  • The briefs - writing them now is one of my loves
  • Amsterdam - thanks for holding my hair out of the way while I threw my guts up.

Whilst all of the above and more made the Art department a special place to be, it was ultimately your skill in eeking out of each and every one of us what you knew was there...

Without those two years under your direction, I may never have gone on to work in the Fashion Industry, have taught and lead in Art and Creativity in some of the toughest schools in Lewisham and Greenwich, studied to be a therapeutic counsellor in the Arts, have run my own Arts Cafe and Event Space or been the founder of this little curated corner of mine.  

Thank You for your faith and trust.

Much love 

Toni xx

If you'd like to know more about Peter Richards' work in schools head over to his website for info.

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