As part of our ‘In the Beginning’ series where we interview new students, we talk to Claudia Kerr, BA Textile Design year one. Claudia explains the different processes she’s learned in her first three months at Chelsea, what she thinks of UAL accommodation, and what attracted her to study at with us.
Describe your experience at Chelsea so far in three words
Inspiring, surprising and emotional.
Why did you choose to study at Chelsea?
Studying at Chelsea was my absolute dream whilst I was studying my Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. It offered a great chance to be highly experimental with my work which I think is a really important aspect of the course. This was really important to me as I love the idea of creating using unusual materials and shapes. I think a lot of other courses around the UK are great commercially, however Chelsea not only gives you all the required skills you need to be able to work in the industry after graduating, it also lets you be playful, crazy and spontaneous.
What has surprised you most about your university experience so far?
The huge sense of community at Chelsea. With it being one of the smaller University of the Arts colleges, it makes you more aware of the work happening around you and how you can get involved. There is always something going on which makes it really easy to meet new people and engage in the creative buzz. I had no idea how welcome I would feel whilst studying here. It feels homely.
What project have you worked on so far in your first term?
I have been working on a project I titled “nostalgia”. We were given the task to collect inspiring objects and curate them in a handmade box, and this has now become an ongoing project. I have collected items that I feel have a strong connection to the past. I wanted to explore the reason why “retro” has became such a huge influence to people’s lives. How looking to the past can help create new and innovative designs for the future, that can speak to a younger generation. I have recently become extremely interested in fibre sculpture art. I use knit as a technique to explore 3D textile design through creating unusual forms, textures and materials that represent the theme of nostalgia.
What skills have you learned so far in the workshop? Have you used any materials or processes that you haven’t used before?
I have been introduced to so many different techniques and processes whilst on my first term at Chelsea. They have shown us so many different ways of drawing and recording information through 3D and 2D techniques such as using a range of materials to create windings and wrappings. We have been shown lots of different practical techniques such as Photoshop where I really got to develop my skills in creating print designs and fashion illustrations. Weave was a completely new experience for me and a skill I am so pleased to have learned. Even if I had used some of the equipment previously such as the knitting machine, the tutors have shown us completely new processes and design tricks with them.
What sort of accommodation are you living in? What advice would you give prospective students about accommodation?
I am currently living in student halls of residence with UAL. I think halls is a great choice for accommodation for someone’s first year in London. Having come from a small countryside town in Northumberland, I wouldn’t have a clue where to even begin looking for a house in London. Living in halls takes all the scary bits away whilst you start your new life in the big city! You get to grips with where you are quickly, have friendly staff to help you out (and free maintenance service!) as well as being able to meet lots of other UAL students from all the different colleges. It opens you up to different people’s way of thinking and interests.
What do you get up to outside of college time?
I spend a lot of time taking advantage of all the amazing art galleries and museums London has to offer. There are so many different exhibitions, plays and lovely coffee shops to explore and find whilst out wandering. The best thing to do in London is just walk everywhere and you will see something new and exciting happening all the time. I love sitting in the amazing parks in London, knitting, having picnics and wandering in to Liberty department store to look at all the amazing designer clothing now and then!
Do you have any money saving tips for getting by as a student in London?
The best way to save money is to get a student oyster card as soon as possible and don’t lose it in the first week! Getting yourself a bike is another cheap and healthy way to travel, plus it helps the environment! Trying to budget your money is a challenge but if you stick to inexpensive markets and shops to buy your food from, plus keep a record of what you spend your money on monthly, it can really help you.
Is there any advice you would give to prospective students thinking of applying to your course?
Don’t be too precious when displaying your work for interview, as it’s good to allow tutors be able to feel, move around and look closely at your work. Be confident in your work and make sure everything is personal to you. Be honest and enthusiastic about wanting to study at Chelsea. As long as your creative personality shines through, you will be absolutely fine! Work super hard at everything you do, throw all your ambition into it and love every minute!
Learn more about BA Textile Design
Check out Claudia Kerr’s blog