Katherine, Art and Design Level 3

Meet Katherine, Art and Design Level 3 Student. Katherine shares how joining our Saturday Art Club led her to discover her passion. She then decided to study at Banbury and Bicester College to take her skills to the next level.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I really enjoy doing artwork that explores my personal interests. I love presenting my interests through something visually exciting.

I love making artwork in lots of different mediums. I don’t just focus on one specific thing. In my artwork, I explore history, museums, nature and local wildlife. Local wildlife is so important to me, and I think we should all make an effort to preserve it.  

A great way to learn about nature is to see it in artwork, it can really encourage you. In fact, artwork can be a great way to learn about anything! 

I also do commissions on the side as well. Like pet paintings, for this one the background was originally blurred out in the photo, so I improvised and made a forest background.  

Why did you decide to go to Banbury and Bicester College?

A large part of choosing Banbury was definitely going to the National Saturday Art Club which I joined when I was 13. The art club was based in the college, which I went to every Saturday.  

I learnt a lot from the teachers there who still teach me today. It really helped to know them already and I already knew the campus pretty well too.  

I knew that there were so many resources to learn from at college and so many facilities I could use which helped me decide to go. I think it was the best choice I could’ve made. 

When I was 16, they asked me to volunteer and help out at the Art Club. I really like that, when you’re working with people who have the same passion, you can learn a lot from each other as much as you learn from doing the art club itself.  

I help out at the weekends when I can now. A lot of people come to me for advice. And there’s always been a big range of people with all sorts of interests, abilities, ages, and backgrounds. 

What has been your favourite thing you’ve learned so far?

I really enjoy darkroom photography. There’s a lot of things you can do in the darkroom, we recently learned about cyanotypes. The things we’ve made have not only been good for coursework, but they’ve been so interesting. 

Another thing I like doing is foreign artwork, I do a lot of painting. In college, I’ve learned a lot of brush techniques from teachers which has been so helpful.  

Downstairs in the college, there is a giant room for printmaking where you can do screen-printing. Screen printing is so much fun to do, it makes a smooth and vibrant product. There’s loads of stuff downstairs that I haven’t done yet, and there’s always the opportunity to do more. 

Why did you choose your course?

I started getting into art at the start of secondary school. Once I got to college and there was just so much more to access, I found that my art style really changed. Seeing all these colours and new mediums really made me interested in new things. I would definitely say I am now more confident in using so many different methods. 

Not only do we have all the resources we need to actually reach our goals, we’ve also got all the teachers who I find are always there for us. I’ve never had to worry about asking them for help, it’s always been so easy which is different from secondary school.  

What do you most look forward to every day when going in?

You form a little community in your class, very quickly. I found that everyone in the class knew each other and we’re all just one big group of friends. We’re always learning from each other and sometimes we will do group projects that are really fun. Just going to college knowing you can make something really creative and you always get to do something you want to do, is great.  

The teachers encourage you to make your artwork personalised, even if you are focusing on a specific topic. Now everyone in the class has their own different style which is really cool to see.  

How is the course helping you with your future job opportunities?

I have done work experience at the college where I help set up most of the campus for a big art exhibition. I also worked at Hobbycraft over the summer holidays and during college. I was in the fine artist category and people would ask for advice. It was really fun. 

If you did want to get a job, you can always approach your teachers because I find that they’ll always direct you to someone who can even if they can’t help you specifically. 

I’ve also started doing commissions during college and have been for 2 years now. I do whatever people ask for, I want to be in a position where I can bring someone’s idea to life.  

I’ve had really cool ideas brought up to me. One I did really recently, was a big drawing of a dog using pencils and it took about 20 hours. I was really happy with it. 

What are your ambitions for the future?

Art as a skill can branch out into a lot of career pathways. As a main job, I would love to be able to teach people at college I’d say.  

I would love to teach other people how to find their own art style. I think this was inspired by my experience with the art club and the college, learning from all the teachers and how they approach learning which is so different from secondary school.  

Being a teacher in a college environment seems like it would be amazing. I would also consider working in a museum.  

I’m in the process of applying to university to do fine art. The college has been really helpful with it. We’ve had individual sessions out of our timetable where we’ll learn how the application works, and they’ll answer a lot of the questions we have. UCAS makes applying really simple. It was easier than I thought it would be.  

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about applying to your course?

If you go to college, really make the most of all the mediums there. Even if you don’t find yourself interested in particular mediums, I think you should do it anyway because a lot of the time, it will surprise you how much you learn and become inspired by it. 

It’s a really friendly environment, no matter what class you’re in. It’s so different in college than school, when I first joined I was really surprised everyone is so relaxed and welcoming. I didn’t know anyone apart from one person in my class, but within a couple of months, I got to know everyone in the class.  

The teachers are so understanding and helpful with everything, not even just with college work. I always say it’s a really positive change and it’s something you can really look forward to.  

Don’t worry if you can’t do something, because the teachers are really friendly, and they know what they are doing as well.