End of The Inchbald Year

It's been a week since the final exhibition and in a few days it will have been a week since graduation! I can't believe it's all come to a close. Well, for the most part anyway - I am actually at the school this week finalizing the master plan for my final project. As I was behind schedule going into final exhibition prep I wasn't able to complete a deliverable drawing for my clients in time. At first, it was kind of anti-climactic going back to studio after graduation, and last Friday I was tired and a bit frustrated about it - but this week I am much more positive and am excited to have the mental and physical space to wrap this up. Today was productive and enjoyable. I also feel a sense of freedom about the project and my time, which is nice. 

Below are some pictures from last week - another post will be coming later in the week which explains my final exhibition in more detail with some decent photos attached. 

This is a picture my friend, Aleja, took of my overall exhibition. More to come on this later.

Me in front of my exhibition soon after it was up! At this point in the day - I was still a little stressed - or a lot. :) I assembled my display just in time - then ran into the dressing room to change into my dress and put some make-up on. 


Soon after I came out into the hall the family who owns the site I designed for my final project and the year-end exhibition showed up! It was the first time they had seen any of my ideas and they loved everything! Which relieved a lot of my stress and set the tone for the rest of the day. Here I am showing Lucy some pieces of trace paper which visually explain the design process I went through to reach the final stage. Several people loved these little trace-paper booklets. Good thing I kept all of those "scraps." 

At 18.00 I changed into my evening attire and fixed my hair and makeup. From 18.30 until 21.00 we had the 'private viewing' where we could each invite two guests. The room was also full of professionals in our field who could be promising contacts for employment, with judges laced throughout...awards would be presented to students on graduation Wednesday. There was also light food and drinks! I really enjoyed this part of the day even though I had been on my feet for most if it. My energy was renewed while explaining my design to those who would listen. 

The night before graduation (Tuesday night) Keanan messaged me to see if I was at home. It was just after midnight - yes I am home. I am in bed. He said he had to see me - life or death and that he was on his way! I had no idea what was going on and my imagination started running wild with what could have happened to him. I was so nervous! When I met him out on Shaftesbury Avenue at about 12:30 I was greeted with this! A big, beautiful bouquet of flowers from my family! This right here was when I felt the happiest last week. It was so unexpected and wonderful! I love my family and wish they could have been here with me.

Graduation Day: I barely made it in time! I was one lucky girl as the bus I had to catch was pulling up just as I exited my building.

Graduation was nice. It was fun to see classmates win the well-deserved awards and listen to Sarah represent the group through her enjoyable speech. I was very pleased and honored to have won the Society of Garden Designer's Award. The book "Led By The Land | Landscapes by Kim Wilkie" is what is wrapped in that green paper. I am looking quite tired at this point!

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You may notice the white little rectangles along my shins....

...I glued each of the names of my family members to my legs so they could walk the stage with me! I couldn't have done it without their support. I also had an "Aunts and Uncles", "Cousins" and "GFM Supporters" tags. I am extremely grateful for everyone who helped me get here! It wasn't easy, but worth all the effort. 

Since these days I have been quite checked out and exhausted while processing and recovering. I did take Saturday to help my dear friend, Rosie, put together a Mad Hatter costume which was great fun (finally focusing on someone other than myself!). Then we met up with my other dear friend, Madeline, to have a celebratory dinner at my favourite restaurant, Granger and Co.

There is so much to celebrate. 

This entire year at the Inchbald has been so challenging, and so rewarding, both professionally and personally. I had several wonderful victories and also many melt-downs, at least one per project (sometimes they were pretty bad), except for maybe D5 and D6! I did try to keep all tears out of the studio...which I think I achieved, but sometimes they came right after I left the building. This past month I especially haven't felt like myself (or my best self) and apologies to any classmates/tutors who had to witness my unpleasantries. I can become quiet, stubborn and moody - and sometimes a fatalist. But there were also a lot of great times. Some good laughs and memories! I am truly grateful to all who helped me get through this last push, even the times I didn't seem too grateful. I learned something positive to take with me into my future from everyone at the school. They have all made me a better designer, and more importantly, a better person.

Here are the shout-outs to some key people during my year at the Inchbald:

Andrew: A massive thank you to an excellent man who pushed and encouraged me to go beyond and break through my boundaries. I know I still have a ways to go and some more "breaking" to do, but your guidance has been crucial in my development as a designer. I am very blessed to have had you as a mentor and teacher. And I think it would be totally cool to one day collaborate on installation art.

Marcus: I enjoyed exploring my ideas with this insightful and poetic teacher. PG discussions were a favourite part of the year and your questions made me think, analyze and question my own beliefs about design as it relates to gardens. Thanks for hailing a taxi for me on exhibition day.

Claire: Your smile and happiness are contagious! This Aussi always had great insight and feedback for my designs as I processed through them. I don't think I could ever get tired of Claire - she's one you would want on your design team. 

David: David was a light bulb for me in my final weeks and helped me make several key break-throughs. Massive help! And thank you for trying to cheer me up and cheer me on when I was feeling despondent about my final exhibition. 

Chloe: Not enough time with Chloe! To be taught by you was a complete thrill. To have you share the way you see and feel the world, time, and space was enlightening. 

Jeremy: Can I stay past 5:00, please?? He was patient, kind, supportive and a real friend. Sorry I got you into trouble that one time you did let me stay. Long live Ireland!

Sharon: I wouldn't even have made it to the Inchbald if it weren't for Sharon. I had decided I wasn't going to go - then I got an email from you one December day checking up on me...and it got the ball rolling. Bless you, Sharon! Always a step ahead.

Pauline: I will miss your laugh! I once heard it while riding on the upper level of the bus (I didn't know we took the same bus at the time) and just knew it was you! 

Robert: Your unconditional kindness and concern for your fellow-American always meant a lot to me! I appreciate our exploratory conversations, sharing of ideas and your ability to express your ideas. I always looked forward to your presentations of your work. I am a fan. Also - as I am still maturing, especially in attitude, you are a great one to look to.

Graham: I aspire to be as efficient and no-non-sense like Graham. I learned a lot about just-get-it-done from this dear friend, though I still am learning how to apply it. His design work is wonderful and solid. He will be a successful and prolific designer. Above all, he makes me laugh. And I think I make him laugh. Looking forward to all the gardens we will see together.

Rachel: Whenever I try to compliment Rachel I fear my American ways make it seem not so complimentary as I mean to be! Rachel, you have an iron will and determination. That I admire. You love and understand true beauty, both in the material exterior and in the human interior. I have learned a lot just by observing this lady and the way she moves through life. 

Sarah: You are so Swiss! ;). And that really says it all. I don't think I saw you in a sour mood even once during the entire year. You are quick to laugh and have a great energy for life and a gift for living every day to it's fullest! Your thought process for your designs and the way you see gardens is amazing. I always learned so much by listening to you share your insights.

Maria: Dear Maria who had to leave us early! But for a better cause! I truly enjoy our friendship and hope it lasts a long time. Your experiences of what you have learned in life thus far have been important to me and I always paid a lot of attention every time you spoke. I am a better person for having your smile and laugh in my life. Best of luck with the little one! 

Anastasia: Your ability to create concepts and your attention to detail is stunning. I still think you would be an amazing jewelry designer! I hope you end up somewhere you love doing something that you truly love. You deserve to be a creative in your professional life. I look forward to seeing where you end up! 

Tetiana: Your determination right there at the end was admirable. You had a dream and you chased it to the end and made it happen. Watching you grow and progress from across the drafting table was a journey in and of itself. I remember the times when I had to snap my fingers in front of your face to bring you back to reality - but keep on dreaming and acheiving!

Jonathan: My friend and classmate who I was always bumping elbows and backs with! We sure did endure a tight space in studio. You were always checking up on me to see if I was doing okay - sometimes several times a day. Thank you for that! You have a great heart and it was always fun seeing what crazy/fun/creative ideas you would include into your designs. Party. On.

Liz: You inspire me, my soul-sister! You are so talented and it's a gift to see what you develop and create with your designs. I am so glad we met and became friends! I look forward to future adventures and to see where life takes you. You are brave and daring - and will go far. I am so thrilled to walk the Peak District with you in the coming weeks! See you soon.

Thank you everyone for your support throughout the year! What a journey!!! Here's to the end of one adventure, and the beginning of another!