Zuzana took the Access to Higher Education course at Leeds Arts University and is now studying for a degree in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design

What made you select your Programme?

I began my return to education by attending the Access to Higher Education course at Leeds Arts University. While studying Access I made sure to stay open minded and explore many techniques and styles. I always liked drawing and was very interested in embroidery so when I learned about the Printed Textile & Surface Pattern Design degree at Leeds Arts University I knew this was the direction I would like to take.

What do you enjoy about your Programme?

I enjoy my course very much and was so pleased to have been offered a place. I really like learning new skills and techniques and this course gives you many opportunities to do so. For example many printing techniques, natural dying, book binding, CAD skills and many more, along with working directly with design companies through live briefs.

What are the studios and facilities like at the University?

We are very lucky to have a large studio where every student gets their own desk and space to work in. This is very important as you have the opportunity to work alongside your peers and it is a great creative environment. The facilities at the University are great. We have many workshops and once you’ve completed an induction, you can use them even if is not directly connected with your course like ceramics, photography, woodwork etc. There are libraries which I personally like very much with endless resources. The University has got everything you need, there is always support around and because our University is quite small, it feels very much like home.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently in my second year and we have just finished a project where we designed print for fashion which will be presented at the Indigo fashion trade show in Paris. At the moment I am writing a proposal for our new project, which is always very exciting. I am planning to work on wallpaper design and create a collection, which may include furnishing fabric. I have not yet found which area I would like to specialise in but slowly I am learning about how I work, what I like, which techniques I prefer and this will help me to choose the right direction. I have learned that you cannot speed up this decision; it will happen naturally, however we are encouraged to think about our future and where we might envisage ourselves fitting in as a designer.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

Most of my inspiration comes from nature, folk art, personal history and the history of my country. I come from Slovakia and I am passionate about the folk heritage we have got in Slovakia. Inspiration, however, can come from any direction. It may be a film, music, gallery visit or something I have read. On our course we are constantly reminded how crucial our overall knowledge is about what is happening around us, what the trends are or which gallery is good to visit.

What do you plan to do after University?

My long term goal is to start my own design business and be able to work for myself. However I want to gain experience after I finish my studies in studios of companies with style, ethics and markets I can relate to.

What is it like to study in Leeds?

I have been in Leeds for almost 6 years and it has become my second home. Leeds has got everything you may need and because of the number of universities and Universitys, it is a very student friendly city. I personally like the fact that you can be in the city centre shopping and in half an hour you can be walking in the moors and enjoy the countryside.