Silvia Kamodyova

Silvia Kamodyova, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

3D Materials Practice MDes

What work are you exhibiting in the Graduate Show 2012 - Up and Beyond?

Inspired by heritage

Coming from Slovakia, a country of incredible cultural heritage, I have always had a passion and respect for crafts. I believe that tradition is a vital element of our cultural and social history.

I am not interested in the new, instead, I find fascination within old relics that transport to a different time and place. My collection is inspired by ethnographical study of peasant artifacts. I am captivated by simple beauty of agrarian vessels used mainly for gathering and carrying harvest.

The rudimentary decoration is made by simple implements and influenced by old photographs of harvested fields, marks in the landscape left behind by farming, and small houses beautifully painted with uncomplicated graphic ornaments bounded by irregular wooden fences.

My background

I came to England in 1999 to learn English. During this time I attended a number of creative evening classes such as life drawing and photography. After some years of living in Brighton I have moved to Holland where for the first time I started to explore ceramics. I have developed a fascination for the possibilities of the material and decided to return to Brighton to apply for a ceramic course. I attended an evening ceramics class at Brighton City College followed by two years part time BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Here, I developed a confidence in creativity and applied for 3D Materials Practice. This was the only course I applied for. I have previously visited many degree shows at University of Brighton and felt strongly about the opportunities and diversity this course offers.

I always wanted to stay in Brighton, it is a creative, multicultural and friendly city. I am from a small village and the size of Brighton felt managable to me.

The course started with experimenting in the workshops with different materials. This was a great opportunity to develop simple ideas and confidence through different techniques with hands on approach. The body of work produced is always an outcome closely linked to visual research.

An important part of the course from day one was critical and historical studies where I was able to develop critical and analytical thinking through research, debating design and craft related topics in group discussions with fellow students, and writting essays. We have always had interesting lectures by desingers, makers, and artists from accross the field of design and craft.

Another key aspect of the course is professional practice which helped me to prepare for my chosen career. I have opted for a four-year MDes master level qualification because it offers a placement in the industry. My choice of placement was very valuable experience which sparked new ideas and gave me encouragement to start my own practice. I went on two different placements; first one was three months long; I worked in traditional Italian pottery where I have learned to throw on potters wheel. This was supported by Erasmus grant which was organized for me by the excellent Industrial Liaison office. My second placement was with Jo Davda at BrickettDavda for who I am currently working for. This has given me a close insight into how to run a succesful ceramic business.

An additional excellent experience I’ve gained was working closely with Clare Twomey and the conservation team of the Royal Pavilion on the installation of ‘A dark day in Paradise’ a swarm of 3,000 butterflies.

The staff are outstanding, I received real expert guidance from 
technical staff as well as teaching staff. They have challenged me and helped me to develop my identity as a maker. All the tutors encourage experimentation and direct students interests in chosen material.

I found the workshops well equiped. I spent most of my time in the ceramic workshop which has got separate areas for different processes and feels very spacious. I also had my own space with lot of shelving space. There is an exceptional library with many online resources, media centre from which you can hire out a digital equipment if needed.

The University of Brighton Design Archives is a great resource of information and open to students. I also had the opportunity to visit the V&A Ceramic Galleries handling session as a part of a research that our tutors are undertaking, and Brighton Museum Vaults.

What would you say to anyone considering this course?

This course will help you to establish yourself in your chosen field, develop your skills, and abilities. Your hands and head will be challenged. It is a full time course which gives you an opportunity to explore. You will need to take the advantage of the time offered in workshops. You get the opportunity to try different techniques and materials and you should make most of it. It is very hands on approach course. Most of the course is self directed study which requires a good organizational skills. Always plan ahead and try not to leave anything to the last minute. This course also requires independence but there is always help from tutors if you need it. Be prepared to work hard. You will have time for fun too and you will meet many interesting people and make lots of friends.

I highly recommend to consider the MDes course because of the placement in industry. It will summarize the three years of education, will give you an experience of the ‘real world’, you will build a confidence and motivation to pursue your own career. I found that the extra year of study is worth it as everything will start to come together even though it is just at the beginning.

What has been your greatest challenge?

The greatest challenge on a personal level has been the finances and to keep the balance between my part time job, studies and not so much free time.
On an academic level I must admit it was the challenge of critical and analytical thinking that is required through the course of study.

After graduation:

I am in a process of writing my business plan. I am planning to set up my own practice in Brighton; I have already bought a kiln. I am exhibiting at New Designers in June where I am hoping to establish some valuable contacts and get a general feel of what people think of my collection. In the future I am planning to exhibit at some trade shows and hopefully get some orders through.

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