Guest Blog, Elise Valmorbida: The first creative writing course at CSM Short Courses…

When I proposed ‘Fact or Fiction’ to Central Saint Martins in 1997, the response was “we’re better known for our visual side, but let’s offer it and see what happens”. My first course was sold out, and nearly all my courses since then have been too. Lucky me! I love teaching and I truly believe that in order to be a good teacher I must be a good student. I’ve learned so much from my students, and from the challenge of answering their unpredictable questions. In the process of finding answers, I explore, articulate, and discover.

In those early days, only some students had online addresses, few universities offered degrees in creative writing, and publishers were often unwilling to receive typescript submissions by email—agent or no agent. So much has changed since then. Digital communication has flourished. The traditional book business is in a state of constant disruption. More and more corporations like to talk about ‘storytelling’. More and more individuals want to share their personal stories through social media and self-publishing. You can’t go for a walk without stubbing your toe on a writing masterclass, academy or retreat. The creative writing industry is booming. Just when people generally want to read… less.

Why should anyone read your story? Is it enough to have had a miserable childhood or an unusual ancestor / experience / hairdo? What about the craft? Is it about writing, or is it about being published?

Or is it about your very being? For me, an impulse turned into a compulsion turned into a long slow existential revelation. How many books did it take? How many rejections, deals, launches, retreats, agents, publishers, readers, critics, students…? How much research, thinking, observing, dreaming, writing, editing (and editing, and editing)? I can’t say this simply enough: creative writing is profoundly good for you.

Elise Valmorbida is the author of novels Matilde Waltzing, The TV President and The Winding Stick. Her non-fiction work, The Book of Happy Endings, has been published in four languages: English, German, Korean and Serbian. Her short stories have been published internationally. Elise won the Trailblazer Award (Edinburgh International Film Festival) for her role as producer and script consultant of indie Britfilm SAXON. She wrote ‘The Making of a Guerrilla Film’ story which was published with SAXON the screenplay. She teaches creative writing at Central Saint Martins and Arvon. She is currently writing a non-fiction creative writing guide, and an Italian historical novel.

EliseValmorbida
EliseValmorbida

The next Creative Writing Fact or Fiction – Beginners course starts on the 3 May 2017 and the Creative Writing Fact or Fiction – Intensive starts on the 4 May 2017.

Follow Elise Valmorbida on Facebook

 

The Book of Happy Endings by Elise Valmorbida
The Book of Happy Endings by Elise Valmorbida

 

The Letterpress Trend

In recent years there has been a resurgence in hands-on graphic design techniques with designers using old craft techniques in new and exciting ways; the latest trend is letterpress!

The Letterpress Workshop in Central Saint Martins Kings Cross building is equipped for hand composition and letterpress printing; it includes two proof presses, platen presses and approximately 120 cases of metal type. You can see some of the students from our Graphic Design Portfolio Course exploring the workshop on the course  instagram

Graphic Design Portfolio students exploring the CSM Letterpress Workshop
Graphic Design Portfolio students exploring the CSM Letterpress Workshop

Letterpress is 600-year old technique for relief printing using a printing press. Its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century and revolutionised the way books were made and led to an exponential increase in the production and availability of books. Before letterpress all books were hand-made and hand written, rare early books are available to be viewed for research purposes at the CSM Museum and Study Collection and at the British Library

Some of the most exciting new work with letterpress combines digital and analogue practices, producing block prints and type from digital artwork, or in the case of 2013 BA Graphic Design Graduate Soo Kyung Kim, designing an entirely new typeface (called Locho Sans),  using a 3D laser cutter to create the printing blocks and then printing with them in the Letterpress Workshop.

Locho Sans by Soo Kyung Kim
Locho Sans by Soo Kyung Kim

Inspired? The full-time Graphic Design Portfolio Course can help you take your design skills to the next level and create a portfolio for application to BA, MA or Professional Practice. There are still spaces for the term starting in April, details of how to apply can be found on our website. You can take this term as a stand-alone 10-week course or as the first stage of a one-year course.

If you are not ready for a full–time course we also run many Short Courses in graphic design including Letterpress and Typography

Laser Cutting the Edge of Textile Design

In her new book, Laser Cutting for Fashion and Textiles, Central Saint Martins tutor Laura Baker describes how the combination of new digital technologies and traditional craftsmanship are putting laser cutting at the cutting edge of Textile Design. The book contains instructions for 14 original designs that you can try at home to develop your skills in Laser Cutting.

Laser Cutting has become more readily available through small-scale bureau and you can create designs using vector-based software on your computer at home. All of the designs in Laser Cutting for Fashion And Textiles use Adobe Illustrator but you can also use SketchUp, Rhino, AutoCAD and other vector-based software to make your own designs.

Shawl - Silk crepe de chine and laser cut wood veneer
Shawl – Silk crepe de chine and laser cut wood veneer

Laser cutting machines create a concentrated beam of light that is capable of cutting through an amazing amount of different materials including (but not limited to) fabric, glass, plastic, ceramics and wood. You can use laser cutting to cut areas out of your material or to mark the surface in different ways and on different scales depending on your creative idea. This process is not limited to Textile Design and these ideas and processes can be applied to all areas of art and design.

Stacked Polygon Bangles
Stacked Polygon Bangles

Laura Baker is one of the Course Directors of our Textiles Portfolio, a course designed to help you develop a portfolio for application for further study or professional practice. She is specialist technician in digital textiles for Central Saint Martins and teaches on BA Textile Design and MA Materials Futures as well as running short courses in Laser Cutting for Textile Design and Digital Print on Textiles and Digital Print on Textiles

Some of Laura’s designs are currently on display in Real Dirty Blue, an exhibition about the playful and innovative approaches taken to Textile Design at CSM. The exhibition is on at the Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins until 1 April 2016.

 

Central Saint Martins Short Courses at the Affordable Art Fair

Unleash your inner artist this weekend by heading down to the Affordable Art Fair Education Space to take part in one of our workshops.

Thursday 10 March  Central Saint Martins Short Courses: Demystifying Drawing – 2pm

Guy Noble will show you how a good understanding of the basics of drawing can open up a whole new creative world. Whether you’re a beginner, looking to pick up an old interest or wanting to start serious art study this glimpse into his Introduction to Drawing course shows an exciting and dynamic way of teaching a timeless subject. Find out how your signature can improve your life drawing or how making 10 dots can help you see differently.

Friday 11 March Central Saint Martins Short Courses: The Creative Spark – 2pm

Ilga Leimanis presents an experimental one-hour workshop exploring the creative process. Starting with the memory of a favourite work from the fair, we will use drawing, 2D and 3D paper craft, and mixed media, to play with making changes to the initial source, through a simple and fun process.

Sunday 13 March Sofa Sessions: Art and Interior Styling – 3pm

Tara Larkin offers an introductory workshop with guidance and tips for choosing and displaying art in interiors, particularly the home. The session includes a short tour of the fair to see and discuss examples.

Also pick up one of our flyers to receive your exclusive Central Saint Martins Short Course discount code!

For tickets and further information please visit the Affordable Art Fair website

Student Review: Total Drawing

Angelica Salvia is a recent graduate of our Total Drawing course, taught by Ilga Leimanis.  We had a chat to Angelica about her experience on the course and how it has benefitted her career and personal development

Why did you choose to study Total Drawing?

I chose the Total Drawing course because I needed to regain a physical approach to creativity which I feel I had lost over the years through the increasing usage of technological devices in my profession.  Also, as a designer, I personally find it fundamental to stay challenged, strengthening my mental flexibility and forcing me to adapt to a different point of view.

What 3 words describe your short course experience at Central Saint Martins?

Solid, for its structure. The first part of the class was always very intense and focused on technique. The afternoon was dedicated to a looser approach to the visual representation and was more emotionally engaging.

Intimate, because of the limited number of people admitted to the class which allowed us to fully engage and concentrate.  The presence of like-minded people enjoying the moment and our encouraging tutor, created a positive creative energy in the classroom.

Flexible, for the variety of subjects drawn, the use of outdoor venues, and the freedom of expression gained once we were given basic technical directions.

Angelica Salvia
Angelica Salvia

What did you enjoy most about your course?

The Life Drawing sessions were surprisingly overwhelming and challenging. The task of catching the whole essence of a pose in only a few seconds when the model was changing poses very quickly was highly engaging.

How has this course benefited your career or personal development?

By slowly taking control of my drawing skills again, my spatial awareness has become more powerful.  Through drawing I have developed a more fluid hand, which allows me to design a more spontaneous and vivid imprint of my spatial visions.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking this course?

Whatever your ability, this course will be the occasion to learn new skills or refresh existing skills and perspectives. You may also find that a particular exercise actually triggers something you can adapt and use in your profession. I would suggest approaching it with an open mind as you might be really surprised with what you are able to achieve at the end of the day. Ultimately just enjoy the process and trust your intuition!

The next Total Drawing Course starts on 11 April 2016 with further dates throughout the year

The course is also taught online with the next course starting on 28 April 2016

Ilga Leimanis also teaches:

Drawing Portfolio – Daytime

Portfolio Sketchbook

Related Blog Post

 

Upcoming Open Days in March

Our highly regarded Innovative Pattern Cutting for Graduates and Professionals course has an upcoming Open Day on 16 March

Places are limited, so to avoid missing out please book your place through Eventbrite

Creative Visual Merchandising for Graduates and Professionals will be holding an Open Day on 22 March and you can book your place here

These Open Days are an opportunity for prospective applicants to meet the course lecturer, ask questions, find out more about the course, see the facilities and get a taste of the creative atmosphere at Central Saint Martins.

Related Blog Posts

The Return of Metaphonica!

Following the tremendous success of last year’s experimental music event we are happy to announce  Metaphonica II  a night of musical experimentation, noise, music, sound and silence. Art schools have long been the breeding ground for the bands of the future and Metaphonica considers the relationship between contemporary art and musical excess.

18+ only   FRIDAY 11TH MARCH 2016     7pm – 11pm      

Public tickets – £5 | UAL staff and students – £3
This is an 18+ only event. Visit the Platform Theatre website to book your ticket and head to the Facebook page to register your interest.

Metaphonica Curator Dan White discusses Metaphonica and where it all began over on CSM News

 

Interview Season! Fashion Folio: Design and Communication

Fashion Folio Course Coordinator Beckie Leach talks about BA and MA interviews season and the culmination of one year’s hard work on the Fashion Folio course.

As spring arrives in London, the Fashion Folio studios are a flurry of nervous excitement as students set out their work for interview and portfolio review for some of the countries top undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The studio is a jam-packed sensual array of colour and texture; piles of homemade sketchbooks, research folders, knitted and stitched textiles sit on every available surface, anticipating thorough exploration.

Research

As the Course Coordinator, this is my favorite time of year; it is when I get to see everything the students have been developing during their year on the Fashion Folio. Every year I am astonished by the quality, variety and the sheer amount of effort each of the students put into their work, and this year is no exception. Each student has filled their area with a huge amount of drawings, research, sketchbooks, journals, fabric samples and garments.

Knit and Illustration

There is no prescribed ‘house’ style on the Fashion Folio, rather every student is encouraged to develop their own style and approach. Students are taught to find their own way of drawing, method of working, and to research the things that really interest them; this results in students developing a unique approach to Fashion Design and/or Communication that suits them.

collage
collage

Students are encouraged to apply for courses at a wide range of different institutions. Current students are applying for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Fashion Design Womenswear, Menswear, Print, Knit, with Marketing, Fashion Communication, Textile Design and Fine Art at institutions including Kingston University, Westminster University, Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy Antwerp.

Menswear
Menswear

The Fashion Folio is a highly intensive one-year Fashion Course designed to support you to develop your ‘best’ portfolio of work possible to apply directly to a BA, MA or Professional Practice.  Last year 90% of Fashion Folio students who applied were offered a place at a top University.

Our next Stage 1 of Fashion Folio starts in April

PPA Exposed! Final Exhibition

Students from the Professional Practice And Academic Portfolio Course (PPA) held their final exhibition earlier this month, with themes focusing on time, memory and family history, self-portraiture, fashion and performance, street portraits, appropriation and collage, repetition and taxonomy.  Speaking about the course, tutor Kathryn Faulkner said:

The PPA is targeted at anyone who is passionate about Photography and is keen to learn more skills and develop their thinking around what and why they make photographs. There is no limit to age or experience but we are looking for well-motivated and engaged students who will work well together. The course is divided into two stages.  After set assignments in Stage 1, the students develop a self-initiated project during Stage 2 and this is presented publicly in a Final Show at the end of the course.  In this year’s final exhibition everyone made a highly individual and personal body of work. There is no house style and the purpose of the course is to help students identify what is most important to them. Students leave with a workbook, an essay, a new portfolio of work and some make artists books. Hopefully they leave with a new found confidence in speaking about their work too.”

Speaking about his experience on the course, PPA Graduate Charlie Gao cited the experience as being “rigorous as well as challenging your own creativity”.

“Being able to critique and see the flaws of your own work is something that develops over time, and I think important to making further advancements as an artist. Being able to develop my own work and photographic identity whilst surrounded by a group of peers with diverse photographic practices, bouncing ideas off each other, being creative, trying new things, working across different mediums – still, moving image, analogue, digital.  This course has the potential to give you the practical skills and confidence to practise photography in any context and to the highest level, whether professionally or academically on an MA course.”

Whilst fellow PPA graduate Zhen Lin spoke of the experience as being “inspirational, practical, and mind-consuming”.

Congratulations to all 7 graduates and their amazing final exhibition

LUCY BARRIBALL

MARILIA CAMELO

CHARLIE GAO

ZHEN LIN

ANNA JONES

OLIVIA LANGNER

TINNAPHOP TONITIWONG

A COLLABORATION (all of the above)

 

Guest Blog, Ilga Leimanis: Former CSM Short Course students invited to contribute to book

I was invited to write three chapters / workshops for a new book, Creative Sketching Workshop, by Pete Scully, published in October. It is a great new book of 20 workshops packed with different exercises to try out.

Creative Sketching Workshop: Inspiration, Tips and Exercises for Sketching on the Move by Peter Scully
Creative Sketching Workshop: Inspiration, Tips and Exercises for Sketching on the Move by Peter Scully

There are a total of 12 contributors from around the world: Virginia HeinJames HobbsNina Johansson, Ilga Leimanis, Kumi MatsukawaShiho NakazaMelaine ReimRita SablerLiz SteelPaul WangSamantha Zaza and the author Pete Scully.

In addition to these contributors, there are also many other guest artists whose beautiful artworks are included. This 176-page paperback is packed with inspiration and insights.

My three workshops are: Architecture, Portraits at Home and Pets and Animals. In addition to my own sketches (alone and as Ortelius Drew), I also asked others, including some of my former CSM students, to contribute their drawings to these chapters. From my courses, Portfolio Sketchbook, Total Drawing (Online), Drawing Portfolio – Daytime and Bespoke Training, the following of my former students contributed

Tim BaynesPortfolio Sketchbook

Sandra Cox – Total Drawing (Online)

Gazala Haq – Drawing Portfolio – Daytime

Loretta McGregor – Bespoke Training

Ana Peigneux Ortega – Drawing Portfolio – Daytime

Ignacia RuizTotal Drawing and now my colleague

Felix Siew – Drawing Portfolio – Daytime

Portraits at Home
Portraits at Home

Fellow short course tutors John Booth and Simon Foxall also contributed to my chapters.

Contrasting Colours - Creating Sketching Workshop
Contrasting Colours – Creating Sketching Workshop

The book is available at Waterstones or Amazon and also many independent bookshops in London.

Thank you to Isheeta Mustafi of RotoVision Books and Pete Scully for asking me to be one of the contributors to this book which was a wonderful new experience!

Ilga Leimanis

www.ilgaleimanis.com
www.orteliusdrew.com

Short Courses at Central Saint Martins

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