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KLC School of Design Graduate Exhibition 2012

KLC School of Design Graduate Exhibition 2012

by Kelly Sparkes on July 12, 2012

This week is an exciting time for many KLC students as it’s graduation week!  I have no idea when I will graduate as it’s taking ages to get each module completed, still, it was encouraging to see that some people have got there when I visited the graduate exhibition this week.

KLC Student World MapI’m fascinated by this map in the Open Learning room as there’s a dot for each of the countries people are currently studying the course in. There are so many, all over the world, some even appear to be in the sea the islands are so small!   I can’t imagine how stressful sending work in must be for them…

KLC Student Work
There’s a great buzz from the excited students, showing off their boards and talking to friends and potential employers.  I got some great ideas for mounting, sketch books and the curtain, fabric and History of Styles notebooks from looking at their work.

KLC Student Work CloseupThe open learning tutors were on hand to answer any questions and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to chat about the work on display and to discuss the History of Styles notebook as I’m a little stuck on that at the moment!

KLC Student of the Year BannersI’m particularly impressed and inspired by the work done by the winner of the open learning student of the year, Kate Lovejoy and the runner up Claire Thomas. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Kate on the day, but she agreed to share her experiences over email, lovely lady that she is :)

Where were you when you got the news you were student of the year?

At home on my own, in front of the computer! I did a little squeal when I put the phone down- then rang my husband and my mum!

Why did you do the course?

I had already trained in Film and TV production design and worked in that field for a while. After having children, I knew I wanted to find a career that I could be a little bit more in control of my hours. Even though the skills I had were quite similar to those needed for interior design, I felt I needed to build a new folio and gain confidence for my new direction.

The Open Learning course at KLC seemed to tick a lot of boxes for me:

-Study around my commitments to my children.

-Not as expensive as a full or part time course.

-Gain a recognised qualification for the industry.

How long did it take you to complete?   Did you have any other commitments during this time?

The course took me 3 years to complete. Initially I thought I would get it done in 18 months but I quickly realised that I would not necessarily get the most out of it by speeding through it.

Instead I offered my services to any friends who were doing extension projects or needed some interior design help to gain some ‘real’ experience.

On the back of that I decided that it would be beneficial to get my website together.

This all added time to the course length but I still think it was the right thing to do.

However I would say that the final 2 projects are a huge amount of work to get through, so I did make the decision to concentrate solely on them for a final push!

I am extremely fortunate that my husband and I were not reliant on a wage from me! So as long as the kids were looked after and an evening meal was on the table, I could run my own time!

What was the hardest part of the course?

I think the hardest part is the fact you work in isolation. The ‘exposure’ you get to the latest things happening in the industry are only what you go out and look for.

Having studied design courses before, nothing can beat the buzz of being in a college environment for learning, discovering and keeping you on your toes!

I tried to keep in contact with college by punctuating my work with the one or two day courses- I’m not sure how much I got out of them but even if you just pick up a name here or a technique there, it’s probably worth it!

and which did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed going in to my local John Lewis and ordering samples of beautiful fabrics and pretending I was really going to order them!!!

How did you stay motivated?

I didn’t really have a problem with motivation. I genuinely enjoyed most aspects of the course.

Where did you get your samples from as a student?

John Lewis as I mentioned above but also direct from some Internet sites.

I found Chelsea Harbour a bit of an intimidating place although I’m sure it wouldn’t be if you just walk in and look around!!

How would you describe your personal style?

Bold and colourful!

What are your plans now the course is all done?

I have been doing a part time internship for a designer who happens to be a former KLC student and when that finishes I hope I may be able to do some freelance work for her in the future.

Finally, do you have any tips for other students like me, still struggling through?

I’ve covered a few already. I think that trying to keep in contact with KLC is important (although I appreciate this can only really happen if you are near to London).

Just keep chipping away. Each project completed is a step closer to that Diploma certificate…and that can open doors for your new career!!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Kate and congratulations on your new career!

I’m really pleased I went to the exhibition, it was an inspirational evening and I’m all fired up to get on with the next module.  I thoroughly recommend next years to anyone working their way through the course or thinking of enrolling.

Congratulations to all the students that have graduated this year, especially Claire and Kate on your awards, you are an inspiration to the rest of us!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

JMD July 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I wish I’d stayed in London long enough to go along to this. Thanks for the great write-up though – it will definitely be on my list for next July!


Kelly Sparkes July 18, 2012 at 9:46 am

No problem :) we should get a group of us together to go next year!


Laura Passey July 17, 2012 at 12:38 am

Wish I could have come with you. Great to read what the Student of the Year had to say though. Catch you soon to hear more about it. xxx


Kelly Sparkes July 18, 2012 at 9:48 am

Wish you were there too, it would have been lovely to discuss the work with you. Got lots of ideas for the HOS and fabric books to share next time we meet up! xx


Sandra Walder July 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Well done with this post Kelly, it’s good of you to share it with us. I went to the exhibition too, on the Tuesday, and agree it’s very worthwhile. It’s the second time I’ve managed to fit it in with a UK trip. Kate’s work was lovely, and I was very imressed with the models (relieved that they’re not compulsory!).


Kelly Sparkes July 18, 2012 at 9:52 am

No worries Sandra, glad you enjoyed the exhibition. I haven’t been before and was really inspired by the level of the work on display.

I try not to read ahead on the project work as I find it freaks me out, so was quite worried when I saw the amazing models Kate had done as I thought I’d have to do them too! She has inspired me to give it a go though, it’s a great way to visualise an interior.

Goodness knows how she transported them to the school…


Sam Lennie July 18, 2012 at 8:11 am

Looks like I missed a good one this year. KLC do a wonderful job of presenting the students work… that will be us one day! Thanks for sharing Kelly x


Kelly Sparkes July 18, 2012 at 9:56 am

Could be you next year!! I did get a little flutter of excitement thinking that I will gratuate one day, what will we do with all our spare time then? ;) xx


Van Bueno July 23, 2012 at 1:20 am

wow…look at those boards! It must be so energizing to visit the exhibition. I wish I get to see one someday …

Thank you for sharing :)


Kelly Sparkes July 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Hi Van,

I thought of you as I looked at the world map, wondering which of the red dots in America you were!

‘Energised’ is the perfect word to describe how I felt, I came away desperate to get on with module three.


annie July 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm

That will be us next year Sam!

I’ve never actually been to one which is really dumb as I bet it’s brilliant for inspiration. although those drawings all look enough to make me crawl back into my hole and just give up.

I’ve recently connected with Claire, she’s so lovely and isn’t it great seeing someone who has crossed the line and got a fully fledged business underway. So pleased for her.

That map is fascinating. I’ve always wondered how many students they have.

Please can I have tips for HOS and curtains too? Those will be the last two projects I do. I have to say though Kelly, my advice would be to leave it until the end. the reason being that you will have learnt so much about so many different styles by then that it will be much easier to write then than starting from scratch x


Kelly Sparkes July 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

Thanks for the advice on the notebooks Annie, I’m sure I will have learnt so much by the end of the course. I think it’s good to start thinking about them early on and start collecting images etc so it’s not such a mammoth task at the end. I will share all the things I picked up, remind me when we next catch up :)

Claire is so lovely and it’s inspiring to see how well she is doing.


Sarah Edmonds August 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Great post Kelly

I went down to an Open Day shortly after I signed up for the course as it was an inexpensive way to see the School and work produced by the students. The work was so professional/aspirational and gave me ideas and tips for mounting pictures on concept boards.

Looking forward to cracking on with my coursework once the kids are back at school and I can really get my teeth into it.

I’ve even cleaned my technical pens today in preparation.

See you soon

S x


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