Studio Practice

The studio is a learning environment for both group and individual work. Discussion with your peers and tutors is one way of opening up ideas and possible modes of practice while at the same time developing your skills and confidence in communication and working with other people.

In getting your own work started there are several things you might do. Focusing on materials or processes can often provide a useful starting point. To generate ideas, for instance, you might try ‘brainstorming’, either with a group or by yourself. The idea is to write down as fast as possible as many ideas that come into your mind, connected with an issue, problem or activity you are dealing with. Do not stop to think about how useful or practical they are.

Silly or unlikely ideas can sometimes lead you in a direction that you would not have thought of otherwise.

Once you have selected a few possible ideas to work with, the next stage is to investigate them through a process of visual and library research. Visual research is about finding visual references to use in your work, and also about learning to look in an imaginative and inquiring way. It corresponds roughly with an idea of ‘drawing’ taken in its most extended sense. You might make diagrams, drawings or take photographs of things, experiment with different marks using different media or materials, make collages or montages of objects or images, or make maquettes, 3D wire drawings, or indeed any combination of these. In design areas you may also find the need to consider information about technologies or experiment with human-use characteristics.

Whatever you use for visual and indeed library research, it is crucial that you make full use of your sketchbook to record your studio research process. Your sketchbook can then become a useful reference point, not only for your studio work but also for your discussion of this work in tutorials and crits.

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