STUDENT: KIRSTEEN MCDIARMID

Kirsteen McDiarmid will begin BA(Hons) Interior Design at the Glasgow School of Art in September. Over the last few years Kirsteen has taken a number of courses with Continuing Education, including Portfolio Preparation Course and a Screen printing evening course.

Here is some of her more recent work. Continue reading for a text she has written about her experiences on Con Ed courses.

Kirsteen McDiarmid.jpg

I have always loved and been drawn to Interior Design, but life kinda happened first.  So as a woman of a certain age, (well not THAT old, but let’s say I spend money on hair dye) I’ve always had a thing in the back of my mind saying this isn’t it. I didn’t know exactly what ‘it’ was, but buying sexy Interior Design magazines year in, year out wasn’t satisfying my longing.  So in 2013 I decided to apply to GSA’s Continuing Education Department for the Portfolio Preparation Evening Class. I printed off some of my work and put it in a wee folder and drove to Glasgow to hand it in.  You were actually supposed to ‘upload images’, (a term that I used to dread) but I was so inexperienced I didn’t know how to do it!  I went home, imagining the staff having a good laugh at someone handing in an A4 folder, and crossed my fingers.

I got a place on the course, and was over the moon.  So began a whirlwind of colour, excitement, learning and getting better at drawing.  I hadn’t drawn for YEARS and was so self conscious about not been good enough, I couldn’t do any work at home until my husband and kids had gone to bed.  One of the biggest changes as a result of Con Ed is that I now understand that you just have to make work and it’ll turn out how it turns out.  You can’t make it to please other people, it’s got to be honest.  If it’s not great, there’s always tomorrow.  Even my husband and kids take a mild interest in what I do now, although when I took them on a tour of the Reid Building, my husband pointed to a crushed crisp on the floor, and told the kids…’That’s art’.  Oh well, baby steps…

I knew I couldn’t stop now so applied to the Portfolio Preparation part time course.  7 months flew by, and again the pace was fast and the learning curve was steep, even tackling life drawing for the first time.  Art gallery visits, actually starting to understand art speak, highs and a few tears and snotters, I knew I wanted to do this forever.  I also signed up for the Screen printing Evening Course which was fantastic.  When it finished I had produced plenty of work but was fired up with so many more ideas to explore, and I genuinely miss the chat, it was my favourite night of the week.

Looking back over the past three years the thing that probably stands out the most about the Continuing Education department is the staff.  Without sounding like a sook, it still blows me away how they all genuinely care about your progress.  Their help and advice isn’t confined to studio hours. It’s because they’re passionate about what they do, part of a secret recipe I think.  I’ve gone from thinking ‘I can’t do this, I’m not good enough’, to ‘I can’t do anything else’.

Kirsteen McDiarmid, April 2016

In September Kirsteen McDiarmid will begin BA(Hons) Interior Design at the Glasgow School of Art. She has gained a place for direct entry into second year of the four year degree programme.

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