The Mentonians

Rachel Bainbridge

Bayview Visual Arts Teacher

DipEd, Bachelor of Visual Arts

Rachel has always loved being creative…

Mentone Grammar’s Visual Arts Teacher, Rachel Bainbridge, has been teaching Art to our Bayview students for nearly ten years. During this time, Mrs Bainbridge has built a successful Art business, been featured on ‘The Block’ and has created inspiring Art lessons that encourage students to always try something new.

We sat down with Mrs Bainbridge to discuss her teaching career and love for art:

“I have always loved being creative. From a very young age, I could be seen with a paintbrush in hand and a canvas in front of me. It was after studying Studio Arts at secondary school that I knew that a creative career was my calling. I continued my art education at university, studying a Bachelor of Education and Visual Arts. I wanted to combine my love for art, with a passion for teaching young learners.

“In 2012, I began Teaching Visual Arts at Mentone Grammar. I have loved watching the Visual Arts department evolve over the past 10 years. The facilities and resources we have are top notch, and I feel very fortunate to be part of a school that values and supports Art. I have loved working with my students to help them explore their creativity, and offer a curriculum that enables them to get out of their comfort zone, try new things, work with different materials and find new and interesting ways to create. “Whilst on maternity leave, I started painting artworks for my family, which soon turned into a little business where I took commission jobs and expanded into making handcrafted resin homewares. From there, I was fortunate enough to have my artwork featured on the TV show ‘The Block,’ and be part of many exhibitions. Now, I wholesale my artworks to shops, selling across Australia and even overseas. When finding inspiration for my personal Artwork, I enjoy travelling with my family to explore regional markets. I love collecting bits and pieces that have a story to tell and also support talented local makers.

“Following a career in Art is absolutely something that anyone can do with practice, and I hope to inspire every student to follow their passions. A career in the Arts means that you will never stop learning or adapting your skills, and practice is key! I always tell all my students: ‘I am not ‘good’ at playing golf, because I don’t play the game. So, without any practice, how can I expect to sink a hole in one?” This is exactly the same concept with Art. If you want to draw, paint, model or craft, you need to stay dedicated, practice your skills and allow yourself time to improve. For those students driven to start their own Art business, I would recommend staying true to what you enjoy creating, be innovative, and always keep an open mind.

“During lockdowns, I believe that art classes have been a great outlet for student wellbeing. Art promotes not only creativity, but enables problem-solving skills, where students must adapt their concepts to match the resources available to them. During this time, teachers have encouraged students to create artworks from the materials around the home, demonstrating that art can be made from anything, when you see things from a different perspective. This has built skills in resilience and taught students how to stay creative, even during uncertain times.

“When helping students find ideas to create an artwork, I encourage them to research, work hard and find innovative ways to execute their ideas. Consider colour pallets, reflect on art history, different styles, and always attempt to try new things. Don’t settle for what is popular or follow trends to be ‘cool’. The biggest successes in the Art world have come from those brave enough to try something new, and back themselves with their ideas.”

Author: Steph Kinnear