Set to start her second year on our crafts degree this month, student Rachel Ronnie spent her Summer interning at London design agency Shoot The Moon.
Through our Industry Placement Bursary, Rachel received support in getting experience in the creative industry during the Summer. We gave Rachel a call to find out all about it...
Hi Rachel, so tell us about your placement.
Over the Summer I’ve been doing my work placement at Shoot The Moon, a multi-disciplinary design agency in Gospel Oak, London.
I started there on the 1 August, initially planning to do four weeks, but I was asked to stay on for a bit longer so that I'd finish right before term starts again.
What made you start looking for a Summer placement?
Before doing the placement I felt like my CV was a bit boring, I know that in order to succeed you need to have experience under your belt, but the idea of getting experience was quite nerve-racking to me!
I wanted to spend my Summer doing something productive that would help my CV, but something creative and enjoyable too.
"I've learnt a lot about advertising and branding, and how important it is in any aspect of the creative industry, when you're trying to sell a product."
I got lots of encouragement from Laura Wasley, who is Head of Development & Enterprise at the college – she’s been a great support this year.
I initially tried lots of ceramic studios and didn't get any responses, so when someone suggested I contact Mark at Shoot The Moon I did, and here I am!
I was so anxious on my first day there, but everyone was so lovely and I really settled in. You just have to chuck yourself in at the deep end, and you soon realise that all the nerves are completely irrational!
I feel like now that I've done the experience, not only will it look good on my CV, but it's given me the confidence to approach more work and I'm already planning what I'm going to do next Summer.
"All my tutors were really supportive and you meet such a diverse range of people with different talents, I feel like you all bounce off each other."
I definitely think it's worth getting experience in your first year. Although it seems like I've only just started the course I know how quickly it'll go by, and I want to be as prepared as I can to find work when I graduate.
A design agency is an unusual placement for a crafts student, what sort of things have you been up to?
Yes it is! I've been doing a range of different things as it's such a busy company. I've been along to photoshoots, involved with some design tasks, and given responsibility over a lot of admin work, which is obviously important to keep a company running smoothly.
I've learnt a lot about advertising and branding, and how important it is in any aspect of the creative industry, when you're trying to sell a product.
There's a huge range of talent in the office there and I've been really lucky to work alongside lots of inspiring people.
"I hope to carry on using digital technologies to enhance my practice in my second year, as well as learning more about the industry."
I've been watching a few of the designers work quite closely too, and it's pretty exciting the way they come up with these ideas!
Mark, the Director, has given me some more involved creative tasks to get on with and said that if I stayed on for a bit longer there'll be more of that. So it's all good stuff!
What made you decide to study at the college?
Well, I did my art Foundation here and I decided to stay on into my degree because of the college’s facilities for craft, which you don't really get anywhere else in the country.
The Foundation Diploma in Art & Design course was the stepping stone I needed between A levels and a Degree, to help me make the right decision about what discipline of art I wanted to focus on.
"Craft is an incredible art form in itself, but it's really exciting to be able to put a digital twist on things."
All my tutors were really supportive and you meet such a diverse range of people with different talents, I feel like you all bounce off each other.
So when I learnt about the crafts degree programme here, it felt like a lightbulb going on, a chance to explore all the different craft areas and develop a wide range of skills was just what I needed.
I hope to carry on using digital technologies to enhance my practice in my second year, as well as learning more about the industry.
When I graduate I'd love to see myself working somewhere similar to Shoot The Moon. Although it's not craft based there, I've benefited so much from being in a busy, design environment and if I could do something like that with a bit of ceramics mixed in that would be ideal!
Tell us more about your exploration into digital technologies.
I decided to use the college’s FabLab in my first year to CNC mill a plaster mould for slip casting, mainly because nothing else was working for me at the time!
I really wanted to create a multi-faceted vase, and the only possible way of creating my desired shape was to use Rhino, and have a mould CNC milled.
It was completely new to me at the time, but it was such a good learning curve and it's definitely made me want to pursue a more digital design approach to my work.
Craft is an incredible art form in itself, but it's really exciting to be able to put a digital twist on things.
My advice to anyone thinking about using the FabLab is just to go ahead and book a session with one of the guys – they are brilliant and I wouldn't have been able to do it without them.
You can follow Rachel’s work on her Instagram @rachelronnieceramics