3rd year, Taslima, talks about a typical day on the Textiles course.
Please tell us about your work
In my second year we had a chance to display our work in an exhibition at the new King’s Cross site. I created a range of woven and knitted samples which were displayed alongside the rest of the year group. It was quite an exciting project and it was nice to see what the other pathway students produced. Recently the weavers were given the chance of working on a menswear client project with Dashing Tweeds. The brief was to design a collection of tweeds for the Dashing Tweeds customer influenced by the City of London. We each did a client presentation and managed to sell a sample. They had also offered me an internship, which I’ve recently completed. It has been valuable to learn about what it takes to run a company and also how much work it requires. It’s been a great experience and has given me an insight into the world outside university.
How did you hear about CSM?
Before CSM I had taken a two year course, BTEC National Diploma in Art & Design. Through this course I had learnt about CSM. We were given the chance to enrol for the summer school and I developed more of an interest for CSM as it gave me a taster in to how the course operates. I was then put forward for the NALN progression scheme, gaining beneficial portfolio and interview skills. There were students showing their work from different stages of the course, so I benefitted from an insight on the standard of work and level of commitment required. Because of this scheme I was guaranteed an interview and thankfully now I am on this course.
How would you describe your course?
The textile design course is split in to three pathways: printed, knitted and woven textiles. All the textile skills required in this course are taught from basics and all they want is your creativity and your ability to draw. In the beginning of the first year you are put into a rotation so you can gain a bit of knowledge of each pathway. By the end of the first year you have to specialise in two out of three pathways and in the middle of the second year you have to specialise in only one.
Even though you may specialise in one pathway you can always access other pathways and use their facilities. This course encourages experimentation and individuality but is also very technical. I have specialised in woven textiles and there is quite a lot of thinking involved when working with arithmetic’s for setting up the loom and figuring out lifting plans.
The projects we are given usually last about three to five weeks including a week of research. Some projects are commercial and are client based and others are free for you to explore your creativity. On this course you are not required to produce garments and are encouraged to focus on the quality and aesthetics of the fabric produced. The fabric samples can then be visualised into fashion, interiors, architecture etc.
A typical day would start at 10am; the workshop is open from 9.30am to 9pm. Sometimes we would have group tutorials and sometimes one-on-one tutorials with tutors. The tutors are very helpful and friendly so if you need to discuss anything they will try to fit you into their schedule. We work independently and have to manage our time. We are also expected to use the workshop on non-taught days and progress further independently. All the students are friendly and we help each other from setting up the looms to working out designs. The technicians are very helpful and they are highly skilled, it’s as if there’s nothing they don’t know!
What sort of a person do you think you need to be to do well on your Course?
The student for this course will have to be self-motivated, dedicated, organised and creative. Someone who breaks out of the box and does not always play safe..
Why did you choose this particular course?
Having had the experience of being guided by tutors from CSM from the NALN course made me favour the university even more. You were given critical feedback which I found beneficial, and they also knew how to get the best out of you! They also have a huge range of equipment and facilities; my favourite is the yarn store. I found CSM’s approach to design more free and experimental compared to other university’s which were more controlled and commercial.
What do you love about CSM?
The fact that no matter what you want – be it advice, support or equipment – it is there for you if you are prepared to ask. For me the thing I valued the most was the space you had to attempt some really ambitious works, not just in the studio but also the hired and project spaces. That, along with the workshops and the great technicians.
How would you describe CSM?
If you’ve made the transition straight from secondary school the freedom will be refreshing. With CSM now moved to one campus at King’s Cross the buzz around the building is much more exciting to be a part of than when the courses were previously spread over separate sites. It means that you needn’t restrict your social group to the same subject. Often you will find your best friends in another pathway altogether. Add to that the all-round better facilities and its a fantastic place to study.
Who inspired or motivated you?
I love that there is always a buzz in CSM. Through the glass windows you can see students working and also as you walk through the workshops you can see how other disciplines operate. I always feel motivated when I am at Uni, there are so many exciting things going on all at once. The tutors and technicians are great and their level of tutoring and help is of a very high standard. Most of the people I’ve met are very friendly and open although there are some people that keep to themselves.
What are you doing now?
I am a Student ambassador for the university. I help out with open days, the summer school and NALN course, and also work with young children helping them with their portfolio skills and boosting their creativity. I enjoy weaving and I hope to go into a career involving woven fabrics in the interiors industry