Open Studio — Portfolio Preparation Course,
Creative Practices 2020–2021

We Lost You For A Moment There

It gives us great pleasure to share the work of this year’s students who have studied with us on our Portfolio Preparation Course – Creative Practices. All have shown a prodigious amount of dedication to their studies during very challenging times and have embraced working online with us, establishing remote working spaces, with continued enthusiasm and commitment. They have all been remarkably abundant in their making and created portfolios of work that are diverse and engrossing; whilst supporting each other in their learning, being extraordinarily good natured and kind throughout.

Our primary focus is the creation of a unique and distinctive fine art, design or architecture portfolios of work, for both ‘Digital ‘and ‘Full’ Portfolio submissions for Further and Higher Education Courses and other directions. Students studying on the Portfolio Preparation Course work in a Studio Environment this year online, within which every student is supported in developing their creative skills, through the application of a wide-range of imaginative, technical and practical processes. The diverse online studio-based learning and teaching activities, have been and are designed to assist students in simultaneously developing experimental and innovative work as well as acquiring a strong work ethic.

This year being online has given the students this opportunity to showcase their work via the GSA Website at the end of their studies, self-selecting and curating their own work and promotional material, providing a professional experience where the emphasis is on learning and thinking through doing, and the site will be available for the public to view for a year.

The majority of our students go on to study Undergraduate Degrees, plus some Postgraduate Degrees in either Fine Art, Design or Architecture, at institutions across Scotland, the UK and Europe. Other trajectories include being self-employed, running their own creative businesses and undertaking internships.

This year’s students are all currently being invited for interviews and receiving offers, considering other and all their options and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for choosing to study with us and we wish them all the very best for their futures.

Deborah Holland + Joanie Jack

Joint Course Leaders

Portfolio Preparation Course – Creative Practices
Open Studio

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Cecile Foglio

The Iceberg of Ignorance

representation after an online survey on GoogleDoc of the different aspects in life that people (re)considered as essential in order of preference since the beginning of COVID-19 crisis ; Watercolour & marker.


or an ode to Music with multiples of guitar playtrum patterns and soundwaves ; White Posca, Uniball Metallic Pens on black card paper.

Multiples & Patterns Research

and one of Neri Oxman's « Kreb Cycle of Creativity » in her Material Ecology Catalogue , one of the most inspirational and important books I have read so far this year about natural evolution of architecture and sustainability in design.

Icelandic Northern Lights inspired structure

or the study of introduction of natural light in interior spaces in countries with short daylight in winter time. (3D structure) recycled cardboard, green acetate, stirring wooden sticks, acrylic mirror sheets •Sketches Faber&Castell Watercolours and Pitt artist drawing black pens.

Transparent texture Analyse

preliminary ideas for the “Icelandic transparent Northern Lights inspired structure” after my observations ice cubes, inverted icicles and natural skylight in Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel in Iceland. (top right sketch) Faber&Castell Watercolours (bottom right sketch) Aluminium, Blue Ink, tiny polystyrene “snowflakes”, white iridescent sparkles Molotow One4All Acrylic Lilac marker, stirring wooden sticks, Gouache and Acrylic paints, Glossy resin and “Chartreuse” Pebeo Vitrail glass paint.

Life-Size Transparent dome

along with the “Northern Lights” inspired structure this project is a further research on how to reiterate the Northern Lights beam and how to introduce natural lights in interior spaces. My personal hula-hoop, bamboo sticks, Electrical PVC insulation tape, green acetate sheets.

Koi Fish Stool

DIY stool representing Japanese style pond with Koi fish. Epoxy and Coating resins, artificial aquatic plants, birch wood and FastCast to make Koi Fish.

Orgues de Flandres

Paris 19 drawings, representation of architect Martin Van Treeck's social housings in different angles ; White Uniball Pen on black card paper.

Same Monstera Plant, Different Representations

drawings in A3 Format sheets of my beautiful Monstera Plant back home in Brittany that encouraged me to adopt an healthier lifestyle during lockdown. Two of them unfortunately got lost by mail when sending them over to France and arrived in January 9 in Victoria, Australia instead.. (From left to Right) Graphite Stick 4B – Drawing Ink and Posca – Willow Charcoal & Compressed Charcoal, eraser.

Stirling Gin & Whisky Festival setup Commission (September 2019)

first ever commission in Scotland realised within the framework of the annual “Gin & Whisky Festival” , inspired by one of “Anthropologie” shopping window decorations. Recycled, cleaned and cut wine bottles, fishing wires, artificial fabric flowers, steel disc, hooks, and a suspended grid.

3D printing rendering of Extensible/Spiralling stairs

screenshot of one of my portfolio slides showing the final outcome of the falling/flying sycamore seeds inspired stairs I designed on Blender. It was with a greatest surprise to realise that you can actually use recycled materials for 3D printing. This project was made in collaboration with my friend Kirill who is more of an engineer and a perfectionist in his own way. It was by far the most challenging, time-consuming but also the most exciting project of this year, since I have just started using a 3D modelling software and it made me realise how important collaboration projects are in terms of new learning opportunities.

Extensible/Spiralling and Space saving stairs

sketches and realisation on Blender version 2.91.0 ; stairs design inspired by flying and falling of sycamore seeds. As the sketches are demonstrating, the “inside and out” function of the stairs is made possible through the round opening skylight giving access to the roff terrace. Faber&Castell Watercolours Pitt artist drawing black pens, tracing paper, graphite pencils.

Creeping Fungi inspired structure

the analyse of creeping mushrooms on trees made me think of a potential design for a staircase with its multi-layering pieces. The 3D structure is composed of embossed foamy sheets pinned together and sustained by wooden stirring sticks.

Upside Down Reflection of the World Through a Glass of Wine

this diffraction effect happened completely by chance one day when I put my glass of white wine by my bay window and decided to capture the diffracted view I have from my room. I reproduced later the same technique with water in different spots in Stirling – where I am currently living – like in the Old Town Cemetery, King Street and Stirling Castle. One of my friends compared this work with M.C Escher's optical illusion drawings. I also found this analyse coherent with the period we are all facing being constantly told that the world is “upside down”. Faber&Castell Pitt artist drawing black pens.

Stop Motion animation project

more than 70 different captions were taken for the realisation of this stop motions. The play with multiples to create different combinations and forms is one of the things I enjoy most doing. Just like “tangrams”, this stop motion shows the infinite possibilities one can make with the same form in order to “shape with a difference”, and makes maths quite enjoyable.

Untitled 1

the study of origami figures, here of the “flexagon” with a “mirror effect” rendering because set on top of my mirror reminded of the “Miroir d'Eau” in Bordeaux, a very interesting concept to “cool down” the air during hot summer days. The drawing opposite suggests the solution on how to make urban life more breathable and healthier when summer gets warmer and warmer due to global warming. In the bottom right the condensation process is demonstrated through my Moka Machine that you can watch in this link

Achromatic 2 and 3 Dimensional Material Exploration

another screenshot of one of my portfolio slides showing my research for the 2D/3D project during Portfolio Preparation Course attended this year. For this project I enjoyed the manipulation of varied materials such as oasis foam, aluminium, tracing paper, sewing thread, foamy sheets, vinyl paper, electric tape, fishing wire, pins. The final very structural 3D rendering reminds me of Bauhaus style buildings with the combinations of layered and spiralled patterns. In this regard, I wanted to pay a tribute to one of my inspirational architects Frank Gehry with a superposition montage on Photoshop (bottom right image). Besides of its form, the structure reminded me also of one of my favourite facilities back home in Rennes “Les Champs Libres”, a multi-storey cultural centre with a Planetarium in the top floor.

Chromatic multiples manipulation

3D structure with an assemblage of one colour for one geometrical form with pins, foamy colorised sheets and oasis foam. This structure is inspired of Pop-Up tents, a very handy and space-saving temporary housing for mountain lovers/hikers like me ! Analytical rendering in Graphite pencil and willow charcoals bellow different angles of the structure.

The Boomerang House

first 3D structure I made out of lollipops sticks, clay and resin when I used to rent a workshop in “Made In Stirling” hub from May 2018 until February 2019. The idea for this model house came from the shape of boomerangs that were hanged on the walls of the pub I was working at that time “The Kilted Kangaroo”. In real life, this house inspired by modern Scandinavian style houses is meant to represent sustainable housing, using natural materials, renewable energies thanks to solar panels, and supported by trees.

The Ride and Rest House

this all-in-one house-skatepark is somehow an affectionate greeting to my skateboarder friends and skate culture in general that unconsciously inspired me for the realisation of this model house but also that made me realise I am able to conceive confidently in 3-dimensions. Some elements of the model are a customised recreation of existing skatepark units ; for instance the “coliseum”style stairs that refers to the “Arsenal StreetPark”(Rennes) and the bowl refers to the “SnakeBowl” that got refurbished over last summer in Rennes too.