April 30, 2019

Artist Designer: Maker at Cardiff Met is a very broad course. It allows you to experiment with not only ideas but also a huge range of materials. You can create with anything you can think of, from metal and wood to ceramics and electronics.

Before I started uni I was unsure which exact direction I wanted to go in; I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in a specific medium, I just knew that I wanted to create without being forced down a particular route.

Here’s a brief breakdown of what happens across the three years of the course:

First Year 

First and second year allow you to experiment with techniques and materials

In the first year of Artist Designer: Maker you can experiment and have a go at working with all of the materials and techniques that the university offers. That could mean metal, wood, ceramics, CAD, plastics, 3D printing, screen printing, photography and probably many more that I’ve forgotten about… THAT is how broad this course is!

It’s a year of pure experimentation, finding out what you love working with and what you don’t like working with – and there’s nothing wrong with not liking a certain material!

Second Year

I soon realised that furniture was something I was interested in

Second year is about narrowing down which materials you would like to concentrate on for third year, and looking deeper into the processes that you could take forward. Like first year it’s all about experimenting and finding yourself as a maker, but by the end of second year you will 100% have a better idea of the direction that you want to go in, and perhaps some ideas on what to start looking into over the summer!

You can still change what you want to do at this point, but it’s a good time to start seriously thinking about what you want to look at in the year to come, both conceptually and in terms of materials.

Third Year

Cat bed
As the course has progressed I’ve learned so many new skills

This is where everything gets a little more serious – however, in Maker the way that you are integrated into this final year makes it a little less daunting.

You will have been experimenting as a maker for two years, and had time to choose which materials you are most interested in continuing with. You‘ve had chance to develop your aesthetic and style with the material that you love, and being confident with these aspects makes life much easier. It really helps when you’re designing and planning for the graduate show.

It’s not all about hands-on working – CAD is important too

The community atmosphere in Artist Designer: Maker helps too. It’s like a collective of best friends that make with a whole range of different materials. You can get help, motivation and ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise from friends that work with different materials.

There is no ‘cliquey’ atmosphere of woodies working with only wood folk or ceramicists working with only their ceramic friends – we are all a big community that enjoys being in the company of other creatives.

Studying Artist Designer: Maker has given me amazing flexibility. It’s allowed me to use all the equipment that Cardiff School of Art and Design has to offer.

In third year you focus in on your chosen material and style.

From first year to third year the course encourages experimentation, new ideas and originality. As a maker your practice can span from being a pure artist to a pure designer and everything in between. Every idea is okay in Artist Designer: Maker, and everyone is allowed to run with whatever concept they like. 

See more of Nicole’s work on her Instagram: @elysefurnituredesigns