I did the first year of my degree in Lowestoft on the Design Crafts course. I commuted daily on the train. The track runs through beautiful fenland countryside from Norwich to Brundall to Strumpshaw, Cantley, Reedham, Haddiscoe, Somerleyton, Oulton Broad through to Lowestoft. And of course back again. Taking a trip daily the route becomes familiar and you begin to notice subtle changes in the landscape, and to mark birds and animals that are less common.
Yesterday I went back to Lowestoft. I had forgotten how sharp and thick the salt air is as you step off the train. Returning brought home a wave of memories. Lowestoft is not a glamourous or fashionable town, you have to go further south along the coast for that, to Southwold and Aldeburgh, but I like the grit. You have to walk quite a way along the sea wall to get to a beach. This walk takes you past factories and a caravan park, and the most easterly point in the British Isles. The wall is a sea defence rather than a gentle promenade, it is a coastal path for the hardy sea-lover. When you get to the beach it becomes a little more picturesque, the gently sloping stoney beach backs on to a fat bank of bamboo, tree lupins, rosa rugosa and brambles. Paths meander through this greenery taking you to Corton and beyond.
Aside from needing a scenic train ride, a bit of sea air to wake up my senses and a trip down memory lane, I went to Lowestoft to see the final show for my degree course year group. The people you start a course with are something special I think. You all arrive, not sure what's what, eager to learn, shy maybe, anxious, excited, and that is a powerful connection. I was impressed by the show. Lowestoft is a small course, in an out of the way town slightly off the map, but it attracts some interesting students and the work in the show reflects that.
Although I changed mid course to move to Norwich, and I have loved my time there, I know that the work I am producing now stems from my year at Lowestoft. Lowestoft rooted my journey as an artist and I am grateful for the year that I spent there.