Kayley Holderness

I grew up in Lincolnshire and moved down to London in 2005 to study at Central Saint Martins. After specialising in Ceramics on the Foundation I progressed onto BA Ceramic Design and graduated in 2009.

During the BA I came runner-up in a surface design competition for Vista Alegre, received highly commended for an Ethos Home Wares competition and was awarded the Sylvie Nisbet Scholarship for work experience, which I put towards a trip to America. 

Since finishing the course I have been working part-time to support myself whilst taking part in the Immersion course at Central Saint Martins. After a bit of time out I am now ready to start designing again and am looking into getting my degree projects manufactured.

Why did you decide to study at Central Saint Martins?

Mainly because of the college's fantastic reputation and location in London. I chose ceramics specifically because the department is really well-equipped and the tutors are successful practicing designers with lots of experience in the industry. The Ceramic Design course is a lot more design orientated rather than fine art, which suits my way of working.

What was the best bit about living and studying in London?

When living in London you get spoilt with the availability of everything; shops, galleries, bars, shows. There's everything here to stimulate a creative mind.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Technicians are invaluable, make friends with them! Listen to your tutors, and be influenced by their guidance but be instinctive and don't be afraid to challenge them. Get as much relevant work experience as you can. Don't be scared of 'networking' - it's a fancy word for making new friends!

And for students about to graduate?

It's OK to take a while to think about your next steps after graduation but try to hit the ground running, network and keep in touch with your peers, they're instrumental to your success - everyone's got useful contacts. Consider taking part in the Immersion course at Central Saint Martins, it helps to build your confidence whether you're looking to be set up on your own or be employed by someone else.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I have just finished the Immersion course, which was suggested to me by someone who works at the Innovation Centre at Central Saint Martins, and I am now looking to get a job in a design studio. I'm not quite sure where to place myself within someone else's design context so it needs some careful thought! I have a few shows lined up for 2010 as a result of people seeing my work at the Central Saint Martins Degree Show and New Designers. My aim is to get my own products manufactured so eventually I can work for myself.

How has Central Saint Martins helped in your chosen career path?

My experience at Central Saint Martins has left me well-equipped to talk concisely about my work, to be decisive, instinctive and individual. I always felt supported and nurtured by the tutors and technicians and have left the college with a broad skill set that will lay the foundations for what I hope will be a long and successful career in design.