I'm so excited to finally share my experience and what I learnt at Central Saint Martins in London!
I'm constantly enrolling in different courses, mostly in Sydney (during the week after work) and I had dreamt of taking a course at CSM for years! (you may remember this video I made)
It has such a world reknowned reputation and many of the incredible designers that inspire me so much all studied there at some point - Matthew Williamson, Mary Katrantzou, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney (to name a few!!)
I remember looking up the short courses and thinking..why don't I just book it?
I found some amazing earlier bird flights to London and it all fell into place!
DREAM COME TRUE!!
I packed my art supplies and headed off, full of nerves and excitement!
I spent the first 3 weeks of my trip exploring London, Paris and Rome - visiting every museum, art gallery (best part of traveling alone) and tourist hot spots and then spent my final week taking the course.
The Granary campus was right near King's Cross Station on Regent's canal - which was really convinient and easy to get to. The building itself is a massive warehouse that has been purposely restored into a really cool arty campus.
Our teacher Dominique Lolive was awesome.
It makes such a difference when you have a teacher who has so much experience & is so passionate about the subject they teach.
She originally studied fashion design and then moved into textile design because she didnt enjoy the patternmaking and sewing part of the course (I can relate as print design was my fav subject at fashion college too)! She has her own company now and has worked in New York & London creating her unique textile designs. Such an inspiration!
There were 12 of us in the class from all over the world - London, Sweden, Japan, China, New York, Norway, Brazil & Sydney! I loved hearing everyones stories of why they had chosen to take the course, what they had studied previously and what they wanted to do after they finished! They were all such talented and creative people! :) Quite a few of us had studied fashion only to realise that textile design was our true calling.
I think the best way to explain my experience is to give a brief summary of what we did each day: (and explain the design process we learnt)
Reasearch - we spent the morning in CSM's amazing library (there is a hug section dedicated to Fashion & Textiles - and all the latest design/trend magazines!!)
Moodboards - we then created our mood boards (I brought a lot of pictures/colour chips that I had collected from home)
Initial Sketching - We then looked for simple shapes within our mood board and started sketching as many ideas as possible
Techniques - Today we learnt heaps of new painting techniques using masking fluid, gesso acrylic paint, candle wax, quink ink, bleach and watercolour inks.
This was really fun, and definitely opened my eyes to a whole new way of designing.
It really pushed me out of my comfort zone, I'm so used to drawing in pencils first before painting and spending a lot of time on the one design - before scanning it into the computer and editing.
Instead we learnt to create interesting textures and abstract designs by hand, and to be really quick and not too precious about one design.
We learnt to never start with a white back ground (it's way too boring!) and that these interesting textures could be used as a back ground to add more interest and depth into a design.
They also help make your work more unique and one of a kind.
bleach and quink ink - a word of warning when using bleach - make sure you step out and get some air every so often!
This was one of the many gourmet food trucks that was outside the uni at lunch time (we had spicey burgers one day and mexican wraps on another day) It was soooooo cold outside, but definitely worth the trip outside for these lunches!
There was also a really good canteen on campus with very reasonably priced meals!
More techniques - We learnt some more painting techniques - including creating our own stamps
We spent the day working on our own collections which was really fun!
I ended up using the stamps I created along with masking fluid and watercolour inks.
The end result was quite different from what I have done before.
In the afternoon we had a chance to present out work to the class and recieve feedback.
It was so really cool seeing how different everyone's final collection turn out.
Three things I learnt from the course:
1. Experiment with all different materials and supplies - you never know what you will create - and you may have a happy accident. Textures make your designs more interesting and unique!!
2. When creating a print collection - link the designs through colour and technique - but experiment with scale, direction, patterns etc
3. Create a moodboard that inspires you - it makes the design process so much easier and more exciting. I thought it was such a great tip to spend time sketching simple shapes and motifs from within the moodboard to use in creating new interesting patterns.
The only negative was that the course went way to quickly - I was wishing I could have stayed on for a few more weeks!!
A few of the others had booked several courses - something I wish I had done too!
I really hope I'll be able to go back again one day :)
If you are thinking about taking a CSM course or any short course for that matter I say go for it!!
I believe learning is the key to creativity and that the more you learn and try out the more ideas you will come up with!
I'm more than happy to answer any questions you make have about taking a course there :) so feel free to leave a comment.