When I applied at the National Art School in Sydney in 2010 I was asked to bring work to an interview at the painting department.
I took my work and showed it to two interviewing staff who looked very bored and who, after listening to what I had to say, said there weren't any places anyway and they had no idea why I'd been invited. I was dumbfounded but then asked if I could apply for the ceramics department instead. Oh if you want, they said and I went back outside to sit once again in the queue on the benches. Eventually I was asked in to talk to the ceramics staff, one of whom was Merran Esson.
What a difference. These staff were bright faced, enthusiastic and supportive. They knew of the work of the Dunedin ceramic artist Jim Cooper with whom I had studied at the Otago Art school and invited me to join their student intake.
I'd really only applied as a way to reintegrate into Sydney life after several years away, but I had a ball in the ceramics department, worked like a beaver and took home all sorts of ceramic objects despite primarily seeing myself as a painter.
The people in the painting department didn't seem to be very happy, so I was pleased I'd been diverted to the ceramics group. Merran was instrumental in making the department a happy place to be. Thank you Merran. Vale.