Creative Arts: your questions answered

Frankie, Imogen, Flossie and Tracy give us an insight into studying the Creative Arts at Downe House.

30 October 2020
Textiles departments 620 x 580 sewing machine downe house

1) What is Fine Art?

Imogen, Deputy Head of Creative Arts and A Level Art student

Fine Art (also just called Art) is a vital and fun way for us all to relax and enjoy ourselves. At Downe however, there is always the possibility to take this further and develop it into a passion. The School is amazingly supportive of the Creative Arts, offering spacious facilities and materials which allow girls to develop their skills utilising a variety of techniques and mediums. These can vary from transforming a piece of clay into your friend’s portrait to an oil painting of the stunning views around our campus. Art supplies us with contagious smiles, from Remove right up until A Level, including outstanding support with applications to art colleges and universities. During the GCSE and A Level courses, girls learn about various disciplines which can be carried forward as a part of their coursework, free time or a career. The possibilities are endless…

2) Why study Textile Art?

Francesca, Head of Creative Arts, A Level Textile Art and History of Art student

Initially, opting for Textile Art at GCSE, I was unsure of what to expect, but I immediately fell in love with the freedom of the modern and forward-thinking course.

Textile Art is available both at GCSE and A Level, as well as being taught to all students during their first three years at Downe. The wonderful teachers, facilities and course have nourished my passion for art, and students are always encouraged to explore their own imagination, as well as being guided through various techniques which allow them to articulate this to their best ability. Textiles provides skills for every discipline; girls are encouraged to focus on drawing and painting, which is informed by their own photography and then communicated through fibre art to produce three dimensional pieces, which can finally be developed into wearable garments. As well as this, each artwork is evaluated, which helps students to improve their analysis and writing skills. The rounded nature of the course has not only informed my knowledge of practical techniques, but introduced me to the infinite possibilities of art and made me appreciate the world around me from a new perspective. I hope to carry all of these skills into my future degree and career path, exploring the thriving and constantly growing creative industry, and am planning on completing an Art Foundation year following my graduation from Downe!

3) What do you learn in Design and Technology?

Flossie, A Level Design and Technology and Textile Art student

Design and Technology is an exciting subject which is offered from Remove all the way up to A Level. The subject constantly offers new opportunities to students: exploring the theoretical and business side of the ever-growing design industry as well as helping girls to express their own creativity. There is never a shortage of ideas for what to make! Our incredible teachers encourage girls to explore their imagination and build on their ideas, as well as advising on practicalities, which provide them with important skills for life. During GCSE and A Level studies, girls gain knowledge of the properties of various industrial materials and learn how to use digital design applications and safely use machinery. All of this can then be employed in the production of their own products. Each student is able to pick her own theme for the practical exam at the end of the course, which can then be explored and developed into a final product, handmade and 100% unique! But let’s be real, what’s more fun than watching machines satisfyingly slice smoothly through rock-hard metals and cutting out elegant shapes to help build your masterpiece?

4) Can you study Photography?

Tracy, A Level Photography and Fine Art student

Photography is available at A Level at Downe, and every year many girls choose to take it up to explore a new and exciting discipline. Photography can both complement other artistic practices and provide a creative reprise from theoretical subjects. During the course, girls are able to explore their creativity through a huge variety of different fields. They become experts in capturing striking images and using mixed media practices. Girls also develop a large range of technical skills using Photoshop, where students learn about design and editing techniques that are becoming increasingly used in professions all over the world. Girls are able to delve deeper into various ways of taking photographs: using a specific viewpoint or a certain composition in order to communicate with the viewer and bring their imagination to life. Best of all, the Photography Department is packed with brilliant equipment to assist students throughout the course. There is even a professional dark room in which students learn about the procedure of processing photographic film. As a Photography student myself, I would also say that the course definitely provides me with somewhere I am able to relax and de-stress from the high intensity in my other subjects, and it has taught me skills which I am sure I will be grateful for regardless of my career!

Photography block downe house

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