Clements, Eric (2 of 10) National Life Stories Collection: Crafts' Lives
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Interviewee's home, Birmingham
Clements, Eric, 1925- (speaker, male)
Harrod, Tanya (speaker, female)
Part 2: Took Ministry of Education Certificate in Drawing. This was to be followed by National Design Diploma. Why no university? Not thought about - too splendid. Art college a compromise. Grant from Warwickshire of £25. Parents helped. Only there for 18 months. Wanted to be a pilot. Went into army. Sent to Glasgow to Maryhill Barracks. New environment for six weeks training. Dispersed to units - EC to Gordon Highlanders. Lance Corporal. Tuberculosis. Recurred in army. Army nursing home near Aboyne. Nurse Elizabeth MacGregor who lent EC her bike. Make-up of regiments. EC's thoughts on being told what to do. When in Aberdeen went to life drawing classes and later at Glasgow School of Art. War ended while EC in holding battalion. Promoted to being a sergeant and took part in Education scheme. Derek Sayer a painter and together they devised art and craft classes. Demob number high - 61. Transferred to Army Educational Corps in Glasgow. German prisoner a friend - Walter Teitge. Pamphlets from Army Bureau of Current Affairs. British Way and Purpose - a series of brochures. Not lectures - discussions. Left wing thinking behind leaflets. Thoughts on Clement Atlee. EC very left. Could not understand concept of private property. The "privatisation" of land. We have to buy back a bit of our own country. But then EC had nothing at that date. 1947 demobbed in December. Future wife had left school. Like EC had been given chance to go girls' grammar school. Then went to Cheltenham to St Mary Teacher Training College. On leave would go to Cheltenham. Demobbed, back to Birmingham to do NDD. Before left college had started into silversmithing. Almost by chance. Painting regarded as superior. Jewellery trade in Birmimingham - rift between academia and industry. Did NDD in silversmithing. Exam systems. Vittoria Street seperate from the art school at the time. Then a trade school. Beauty of the art school. Silver in the basement. Ralph Baxendale and Cyril Shiner taught - mostly ex-service students. Homework. Criticisms. Failed NDD. Just before then a man in their year - Alf - applied for Royal College of Art. There was Alf, Ron Carter and EC. EC took the three folios to the RCA. A design test and all accepted. Started 1949 in School of Silversmithing. EC had bedsit in Holland Park. Muriel nearby with teaching job. Both had bikes. The "Birmingham School" of silversmithing. EC found system of teaching suspect. Need to work in "in the style of" the tutors. Later when EC taught he decided to try not to instruct but to draw out. Hand held at Birmingham.