From teacher to postie - and all for art

By Benedict O'ConnorAFTER years at the chalk face, a teacher has traded in the blackboard for canvas and the briefcase for a mail bag to follow twin careers as an artist and postwoman.

By Benedict O'Connor

AFTER years at the chalk face, a teacher has traded in the blackboard for canvas and the briefcase for a mail bag to follow twin careers as an artist and postwoman.

Aly Gynn has quit her job teaching children with severe learning difficulties at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds to pursue her goal of living as an artist.

But in order to provide an element of stability usually lacking from the life of a painter and poet, she has also taken up a part-time job as a postwoman - and found an unexpected source of inspiration for her art.


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Aly, from Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, said: "I studied at Falmouth School of Art and Design and did a masters at Norwich and then I went into teaching and I taught art at West Suffolk and became interested in working with children with learning difficulties.

"I took a huge decision to give up work and security and a pension, but it seems like a progression rather than a complete change of direction and I have written over 100 poems and my paintings are now in the Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery and there are two other galleries who might be interested."

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Delivering mail to rural villages was designed as a purely practical measure, said Aly, but it has also proved to be an integral part of her artistic career.

"They are great people I am working with and there are one or two poets and they are all interesting people with diverse interests," she added.

"Getting out and about you get to appreciate the landscape, particularly so early in the morning, and sometimes you have to stop and take it in and it has proved a strong influence on my art."

Aly's work is currently showing at the Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery Art Auction East 2004 exhibition, a new venture featuring work by a broad range of local artists, all of whom will be auctioned at a special champagne reception at the Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds on March 19.

benedict.o'connor@eadt.co.uk

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