Studying in London opened my eyes to an amazing city and encouraged me to rethink my creative practice. I joined the BA Hons Ceramic Design course for the winter term at Central Saint Martins while I was a student at Massachusetts College of Art & Design. There, we were tasked to work in small groups as a design consultancy for real clients. My group produced a set of ceramic measuring cups, mixing bowls, and cookie stamps for a London-based lifestyle magazine to promote slow living and family values in an urban setting. From the ceramic pieces themselves to the packaging design and magazine article, we created prototypes and marketing materials for all aspects of this project. As part of our research, we attended Ambiente in Frankfurt, one of the largest design and consumer goods trade fairs in the world.
This experience offered a true glimpse into the design world and the English educational model, which is much more focused on independent work in comparison to the American tendency to emphasize in-class contact hours. I really appreciated this experiential approach to learning. Outside of my main course requirements, I took a short course in Modern Art History at the Tate Modern. It was incredible to meet at the museum each week and discuss the techniques, meanings, and concepts of the works while they were right in front of you.
London is such a vibrant city and there's so much to explore by just walking around all of the markets, neighborhoods, and parks. I stayed in the university accommodation near Elephant & Castle which was pretty nice and safe. I shared an apartment with 6 other girls from all over the world who were studying through the UAL system. I was the only one studying abroad, so it was great to be fully integrated with the full time degree students. We did a fair amount of traveling together on the weekends and during break. London is an easy hub to access other parts of Europe, even for a few days.
Looking back on this experience, my semester abroad continues to carry meaning. I worked with fantastic studiomates, designers, and tutors who I've been able to keep in touch with as I have navigated through art school, graduate school, and my professional career as an artist. The new facility at King's Cross is a gorgeous space, and I'd go back in a second to work in those studios.