Tag Archives: design

Ideas Are Your Only Currency

We are proud to announce the new book by Central Saint Martins short courses tutor Rod Judkins Ideas Are Your Only Currency. We chat to Rod about how his Short Course, 100 Design Projects, provided inspiration for the book and ask that burning question, can non-creatives really become creative?

You’re the author of The Art of Creative Thinking and Change your Mind: 57 ways to unlock your creative self. What was the inspiration behind your new book Ideas Are Your Only Currency, and how does it follow on from your two previous titles?

The inspiration for Ideas Are Your Only Currency was my Central Saint Martins short course called 100 Design Projects. Over many years of teaching art and design at UAL, I noticed the students that lasted and prospered after they left were the ‘ideas’ students. Because culture changes so rapidly, the ‘ideas’ students were able to adapt quickly. The students who relied on a skill often found themselves washed up when technology rendered that skill redundant. So I tried to help students become good at generating ideas. I found the best way to do that was by doing two things. To set them conceptual projects that stretched their minds and forced them to think of ideas rather than create designs that looked attractive. Secondly, to set a lot of projects. Thinking of many ideas is the best training for getting ideas.

Ideas Are Your Only Currency by Rod Judkins
Ideas Are Your Only Currency by Rod Judkins

My previous books equipped the reader with specific techniques and methods to think creatively and solve design problems.  I examined creative thinkers from art and design but also literature music and science. I explained the process they used to get ideas. Then I demonstrated to the reader how they could use them in whatever field they worked in.

The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins
The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins

You’ve been teaching the highly popular short courses 100 Design Projects and 100 Drawing Projects at Central Saint Martins for a number of years now. How have they evolved over the years?

If a project does not produce exciting work, next time I run the course I either alter it or delete it and add a better project. Over the years, I’ve been able to develop all the projects on the course to the highest standard. They are very different courses. 100 Design Projects focuses on ideas and how to get them. 100 Drawing Projects concentrates on exploring the potential of every conceivable medium and how to use them to improve your drawing ability.

Do you cover specific elements of the book in your 100 Design Projects course? If so, which course focuses on which elements? (i.e., I loved chapter 4, so maybe I can book on…)

A chapter of Ideas Are Your Only Currency focuses on technology – how we make it but it also alters and therefore makes us. So in both the book and the course I try to get students to work out how to make sure they use technology rather than let technology use them.

Ideas Are Your Only Currency
Ideas Are Your Only Currency

What’s the most effective ‘first step’ for any aspiring creative out there?

They should work out why they want to be creative. What is it they hope to achieve? Self-expression? Improve the design of cars? When they work out the ‘why,’ the ‘how’ and ‘what’ are easier to establish.

Any advice on how to approach a non-creative career with a bit more creativity?

Because of the success of my books I’ve been invited into places like the Royal Free Hospital where I teach creative thinking to Applied Medical Students. This is a new venture The Royal Free started because they are frustrated that science students have been taught how to learn facts at school but are not creative thinkers. A medical science students needs to be problem solver. A hospital is full of unexpected and unusual situations. That’s where I come in – I help the students to become ideas people who can think of solutions to problems.

Do you think finishing projects is important?

When you first think of an idea it is usually in the form of rough sketch and has energy and life. The more you work on it and refine it the more you can kill that energy. The trick is to develop and idea quickly and maintain that energy.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I get a lot of ideas from students. They introduce me to new topics, new music and new technologies. I meet so many students and they tell me so many things they’ve discovered – they keep me in touch.

What should our visiting students definitely not miss to catch ‘creative London’ in it’s finest?

I’d recommend First Thursdays at the Whitechapel Gallery. On the first Thursday of every month they organize a tour of local galleries. About 150 galleries in east London come together and run free events, exhibitions, talks and private views during a special late opening. They also take you around on a bus – it’s great fun and you learn a lot.

What’s the most important tool for artists? 

I don’t think physical tools are important. If a painter loses his brushes he can replace them with cloth, sponges, etc. Thinking tools are useful because if you get stuck they provide lots of possible alternatives.

Ideas Are Your Only Currency
Ideas Are Your Only Currency


Can non-creatives become creative?

They already are. I’ve discovered that, working with scientists in a hospital. They are constantly innovating and inventing new procedures and treatments but they don’t think of themselves as creative, they think of themselves as scientists.

Rod launches Ideas Are Your Only Currency tonight at Daunt Books, Marylebone, London

Book Launch

Rod’s next 100 Design Projects course is in April with further dates throughout the year.  He also teaches, 100 Drawing Projects, Contemporary Collage and Developing Your Creativity. Check the Central Saint Martins Short Course Website for further details.
Follow Rod on Twitter


The Essential Guide to Business for Artists and Designers

Congratulations to CSM Short Course tutor Alison Branagan on the publication of the Second Edition of her book The Essential Guide to Business for Artists and Designers Alison’s popular online course, Self-Promotion for Creatives, is essential for anyone who desires to make a living from art, design, photography, image-making, or other creative activities. There are still a few places remaining on the next session of this course which starts this coming Tuesday 18th October!

Read Alison’s Guest Blog post on the Routes to Business Success here

Ceramics Short Course alumni Maria Gasparian wins MullenLowe Nova Award

It’s been an interesting journey for Architect Maria Gasparian, who following an inspirational Short Course in Ceramics at Central Saint Martins, subsequently enrolled on an MA in Ceramic Design and graduated with distinction this summer.   Following this she won a MullenLowe Nova Award and Unilever Sustainability Award for her Colour Ceramic City, which aims to offer an engaging and sensory experience within pubic urban spaces.

Photo by Vic Phillips
Maria Gasparian, Colour Ceramic City Photo by Vic Phillips

Currently on display at Brain Waves, a Central Saint Martins Lethaby Gallery exhibition, the self-supporting sculptural ceramic pieces and dynamic volumes, formed by extruded clay coils have an abstract plane with two faces that celebrates the plasticity of clay and brilliance of the glazes. The pieces are scalable and can adapt to local contexts offering endless opportunities for site-specific interventions creating vibrant spaces within a city.

Maria Gasparian, Ceramic City, materials: clay, earthenware glaze Photo by Vic Phillips
Maria Gasparian, Colour Ceramic City, Materials: clay, earthenware glaze Photo by Vic Phillips

We asked Maria about her journey from ceramics short course student to award winning MA Ceramics graduate and how her Ceramics Short Course changed the path of her career.

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

Eye-opener, Informative, Intensive

What did you enjoy most about your course?  

The teaching, hands on experience and experimentation.

How has this course benefitted your career or personal development?

The short course on Architectural Ceramics was a start of a new path in my career. I had been practicing as an architect at the time and also attending part-time pottery classes. Joining the short course gave me an idea about how to combine the two practices. Subsequently I enrolled on MA in Ceramic Design at CSM and graduated with distinction this summer.

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

With work, study or family commitments it is often difficult to subscribe to a full time course particularly if it is in a new discipline for someone. Short courses are a very good way to try new ideas or test something that one had on their mind for a long time.

The next Ceramics for Beginners short course starts on 22 October 2016.  For further information please visit our website.  Taught by Simeon Featherstone, the course will teach you how to construct forms using hand-building techniques, create colourful and decorative surface patterns and also experiment with slip-casting.

Also in December we have exciting new course, Ceramic Screen-Printing and Ceramic Transfers, which will teach you how to design and produce your own screen-printed transfers.  Our full course offer of Ceramic Short Courses can be found on the Central Saint Martins Short Courses website.

INSIDE LOOK: Millinery Workshop

Judy Bentinck is a London based couture milliner with an international client base and is one of the tutors on our Millinery Workshop.  We chat to Judy about her course, advice for breaking into the millinery world and Royal Ascot!

Who is your workshop targeted at and what should students expect to leave with by the end of their course?

The millinery workshop is aimed at beginners in hat making or those with some previous experience. It caters for students who are interested in millinery as a hobby, making for themselves and friends and family and also for people who intend to make it a career. All students will leave with at least 2 finished hats, usually more, but it depends on how fast they work. They will leave with the skills to continue making more hats and will know where to shop for appropriate materials. I recommend they buy my book Designing and Making Hats and Headpieces if they haven’t already got it. I also give lots of information on follow up courses.

How did you become a couture milliner and what is your advice for anyone wanting a career in millinery?

I was originally a textile designer and then a costume designer. I later trained with Rose Cory, the Queen Mother’s milliner and Royal warrant holder, in traditional couture milliner methods. Since I started in 2000, millinery has becoming increasingly popular as a career move, so my advice is, train well, develop your own style and have some really good photographs.

Royal Ascot is the millinery equivalent to the international shows. A parade of all the best and most elaborate creations around. Where do you get your inspiration for your Ascot designs and what advice would you give for choosing a hat for the races?

If I’m creating a bespoke piece for a client they will definitely want a standout piece but it has to match the outfit and suit them first and foremost. I have great fun suggesting and encouraging the client to wear a hat more outré than they normally would.

For my own designs the inspiration is all around! Nature , architecture, mathematics, films, history and more.  When I settle to design, a new themed collection, an image or an idea or colour can influence the direction, and off I go!

I have also made hats for promotional purposes, for example, creations such as an ice cream, a jug of Pimm’s, a milk carton!

Judy’s next Millinery Workshop’s are in July and August, with further dates throughout the year.  For further information please head to the Short Course website.

Central Saint Martins Foundation Show

The annual Foundation Show opens this week! The exhibition showcases work from students across the five curriculum areas: 3-Dimensional Design and Architecture | Fashion and Textiles | Fine Art | Graphic and Communication Design | Performance Design and Practice

Opening times:
Thursday to Friday: 12 noon – 8pm
Saturday: 12 noon – 6pm

This event is free and open to the public, no booking is required.

CSM Short Courses Easter School!

Students travel from all over the world to study Short Courses at Central Saint Martins. We meet students who are changing career, preparing for a degree, beginners, enthusiasts, experimenters, and everyone in between. We spoke to some of our Easter School students about their Short Courses and why they chose to study with us

Helene Rosas - Fashion Design and Marketing ©Jet
Helene Rosas – Fashion Design and Marketing ©Jet

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Helene and I live in France.

You’ve been studying Fashion Design and Marketing this week, why did you choose this course?

I am looking for a job in Fashion Design but, for me, it is important for a fashion designer to know how to build a brand and know the marketing process that comes with it. I feel it is important to know how this world works. My course has been taught by Erica Charles who is very experienced and really knows what she is talking about. Erica was really stunning, and we can all tell how passionate she is. She has taught me that even though some brands are not huge, there is a world behind it that was not obvious first. London has been an inspiration as well! The people, the museums, the streets…London has a very important cultural influence around the world. Everyone knows it, but you can feel it when you are here.

Sarah Beka - Jewellery Making for Beginners ©Jet
Sarah Beka – Jewellery Making for Beginners ©Jet

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Sarah, I’m Belgian and I live in London, UK.

You have studied Jewellery Making for Beginners this week. Why did you pick this course?

I’ve always wanted to learn about making jewellery and how to work with metals. The techniques I have learnt and the professionalism of the tutor have been the best thing about the course. As I am a beginner at making jewellery, I feel I’ve learnt everything I need to know to start making on my own! The tutor, Anastasia Young, has been great. She gives clear explanations and is always ready to give help and advice. Anastasia has lots of experience in Jewellery. This was a great course to develop my potential, and I would like to come back for more courses!

Ingrid Monti - Fashion Design and Marketing ©Jet
Ingrid Monti – Fashion Design and Marketing ©Jet

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Ingrid and I am from Paris, France.

You have studied Fashion Design and Marketing this week. Why did you pick this course?

 I chose this course for two reasons. The first is Erica Charles, the tutor. I read her profile and I was really impressed by her career and thought that she would have a lot to teach me (and I was right!). The second is that my previous career was only related to product and I felt marketing was something I needed to fill the gap.  When I arrived on the Monday morning, the sky was grey and the fountains outside the building were making steam. It really added some drama to arriving at CSM. Inside, I was thinking “Wow! I am studying at Central Saint Martins!” I feel like I am in the right place. Central Saint Martins and London has a different spirit to anywhere else: everything is cooler, less formal. The city has some amazing architecture but it is the people and their style that I like to observe.

Ingrid runs her own accessories brand Sainte Isaure which you can follow on Instagram and like on Facebook 

Costantina Boubouka - Fashion and Textile Forecasting ©Jake Longley
Costantina Boubouka – Fashion and Textile Forecasting ©Jake Longley

What’s your name and where do you come from?

I am Constantina and I am Greek/Italian, but live in London, UK.

Why did you pick Fashion and Textile Forecasting for your studies?

I chose this course to get a better understanding of the industry and to find out what areas to focus on as a Trend Consultant. The variety of the subjects on the course have been amazing and it has been great to learn about the different areas people in the industry look to for inspiration. Our tutor, Bridget Miles, is a very knowledgeable tutor. She is very patient and open to discussions with her class. London is such an inspiring city to be in. It is a multicultural hub that is perfect for someone who wants to start their own business or kick start their career. The city surprises me every day with the new shops, galleries, and restaurants. They say that if you get tired of London, then you’re tired of life!

Chloe Mercer - Set Design for Film & Television ©Jake Longley
Chloe Mercer – Set Design for Film & Television ©Jake Longley

What’s your name and where do you come from?

I am Chloe and I am from York, UK.

You have studied Set Design for Film and Television. Why did you pick this course?

I wanted to build upon the Fine Art degree I have as well as aid my development. The course is helping me prepare for a new job that I am moving into. The class size is small so one to one contact with the tutor, Clara Zita, really helps you to understand and feel confident in your ideas and progress. The course covers 3D model making which I have not had much experience in before. I now feel confident in the process and method! It’s been nice to be taught by a tutor who currently works in the industry so they can offer first-hand experience and knowledge. I have not been able to get out to see much of London and the exhibitions as I’ve been staying behind after class to use the facilities Central Saint Martins has.

Inhara Ortiz Toledo - Fabrics and Fibres ©Jake Longley
Inhara Ortiz Toledo – Fabrics and Fibres ©Jake Longley

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Inhara, I am Mexican and I live in London, UK.

Which course have you studied with us this week?

I have studied Fabrics and Fibres, taught by Veronica Shattuck. I picked this course because I would like to get involved with the sustainable fashion industry. Learning where and how fabrics are made is very important and interesting to me. Meeting new people from around the world has been great and, as part of the course, I learnt how to make fabric from a fibre! Veronica, our tutor, is very good and knows so much about the topic, she has so much experience. I’ve loved studying at Central Saint Martins, it’s so relaxed and inspirational. You can follow my work here: @Obope

Marta Botas Perez - Fashion and Textile Forecasting ©Jake Longley
Marta Botas Perez – Fashion and Textile Forecasting ©Jake Longley

What’s your name and where do you come from?

I’m Marta and I am from Spain.

Why did you pick Fashion and Textile Forecasting for your studies?

I chose this course as I would like to work in the fashion business as a buyer. The course allows you the freedom to express total creativity in your works, to share them with your mates, as well as meet and learn from new people from different cultures. I felt very happy and comfortable at Central Saint Martins. I think it is a very good opportunity to develop your artistic talent and other creative people. I would really like to come back to study more short courses and maybe a Master’s degree. My experience of CSM and London has been amazing.

Our Easter School is fast approaching, please check our the Short Course website for all available courses and dates.

Thinking about taking a Jewellery course?

Thinking about taking a Jewellery course, but don’t know what to expect?  Edvvin Charmain completed three Jewellery Short Courses at Central Saint Martins and compiled a fantastic review over on his blog Edvisored.  Thank you Edvisored, we are thrilled that you enjoyed them!

Our Jewellery courses run throughout the year and the next available dates are:

Jewellery Making for Beginners 29th March

Organic Form in Jewellery 15th August

Jewellery Making with Plastic and Metal  4th July

Please visit the Short Course website for more Jewellery course options and dates

Easter School Instagram Competition #MyCSM

Easter School at Central Saint Martins is now under way and we are inviting all Easter School Short Course students to take part in our Instagram competition.

Tag your Instagram photos with #MyCSM during your Easter School course, between 21 March and 15 April 2016 for a chance to win a £50 Amazon Voucher!!

For some inspiration check out #MyCSM

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.


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.


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.


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