Work Experience: Shilpa

By Charlotte Gilks

In June we had our tenth Get Started With Product Design programme in partnership with the Prince’s Trust. Shilpa then joined Eaten for a work experience placement. Here are her thoughts!

Welcome back Shilpa! So, how did you find yourself at Makerversity? 

I came across Makerversity through the “Get Started with Product Design” course. After graduating from University with a degree I became unwell and had to take some time out to recover. After this long break I began considering building my career, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, even though I had qualifications – I was pulled between my true passion and love for Art and sculpture as well as the interesting rewarding medical career but that was also a constant reminder of my time of illness and after a while became very off putting. I wanted to learn again, develop my artistic skills further, build up new skills and interact with new people, so I got onto Makerversity’s weeklong course, Get Started with Product Design.

What did you make of our workspace when you first arrived?

I was really surprised that Makerversity was hidden away in one of London’s most historical and prestigious buildings. The workspace was really unique, it didn’t feel like an intense work space, but more like a hub for creative businesses and Artists. I really enjoyed being here, I was surrounded by so much creativity. It was amazing to see companies such as Mobilus and Hello Lamp Post working on their ideas in a open hub as I got to see loads of fascinating things and products coming to life. I spent the time meeting lots of lovely people through the course and talking to them about their work. It was nice to be right in the middle of London, where the scenery and the buzz can be so inspiring, especially in Covent Garden.

What did you work on during the week-long get started with product design course? 

We started off with an amazing project called Inflatables – we created a huge 3D structure influenced by the theme of “buildings”. We used the material Aramid and strong tape to hold the structure together before inflating it with air.

On day 2 and 3 we worked on Slip casting with Abbie Adams and textiles with Made by Celeste. Slip casting was my favourite, and I really enjoyed the process of being able to create a ceramic vessel in such little time. I enjoyed layering the slip, watching the chemical reaction take place which was a form of art in itself. I wish I could of spent more time in the workshop with Abbie, this is definitely something I would love to come back to.

Day 4 was another fantastic workshop with Drew Richards and Marcel Mueller, in our pairs we were given a template to build a basic stool from plywood. The brief was then to create that basic stool into a unique chair using reclaimed materials such as metals, wheels, screws, fabrics, broken electrical items. I worked with the idea of the chair being easily transportable.

Day 5 was split into 2, the first few hours finishing off any outstanding work and photographing what we had made ready for an exhibition in the afternoon. As a group we planned an exhibition of our work and a personal presentation, this was for me the most exciting part of the week. The idea of being able to showcase my work, talk about what I had learnt and discuss my future aspirations and goals with loads of creative and professional businesses and individuals who wanted to help me.

What made you want to stay on for a work experience placement?

During the get started programme I met Tim and Jeeho from Eaten who spoke about their work and what their business is about. They were offering one individual a 2 week, a Work Placement with themselves to get an insight into more of what they do. This really appealed to me as I wanted to learn about App development and digital marketing, as well as embracing the opportunity to learn as much as possible from them and others based at Makerversity.

During your work placement what did you get up to?

Day one was fantastic, I was met by Jeeho, Tim and Maddie in the morning before we all went to an independent restaurant for Brunch. The purpose of this brunch meeting was to sample the food they have and for eaten to decide if the restaurant would be beneficial to their work. I also took this opportunity to use the app myself by taking photographs of the food and giving an honest review.

Tim set me a brief to design my own App; he talked me through each process from researching my audience and competitors to drawing out wire frames to using software such as Adobe XD and UI to create more realistic wire frames.

I then spent some time working on creating my own website. I researched other artist’s website to get an idea of the content, I began collaborating my work, deciding what I wanted on my website and the purpose of my website. I used website builder sites such as Wix and Weebly to help structure my site. I found Weebly better as there was more flexibility in the layout of the site.

Maddie works solely in digital marketing for the app, so in week 2 I asked her to set me a task that would help me get a better insight into digital marketing. She recommended an article by Neil Patel who set out a simple step-by-step simple guide into digital marketing made easy. I was mistaken by thinking that digital marketing is just restricted to marketing on the Internet, but in fact it meant using any electronic device as the platform.

What was the aspect that you most enjoyed about your work there? What was the most challenging?

I found app development very difficult it was really complex understanding the different processes and stages. It was way too technical for me. I did however enjoy designing my own website, learning about digital marketing and spending some time with Tim who taught me so much about Photography in such a short space of time.

What’s next for you? Do you have any projects on the horizon?

I will be starting the U25 membership at Makerversity later this year. I want to develop my own brief, inspired by “Make your own masters” by Stacie Woolsey. I want to do some self directed projects, working with the concept of carbon being in everything living and returning back to carbonate beginnings. I want to explore this through sculpture and installation educating others about this concept.

If you could offer advice to anyone wanting to get started in creative work, what would you say?

Just get stuck in! We often waste so much time thinking and waiting for opportunities to come around but sometimes you can gain so much by just taking the initial step. You don’t need to have any creative qualifications you just need a creative mind, full of ideas and the strive and passion to learn. Inspiration is all around you.

Interested in following Shilpa’s footsteps? Check out Prince’s trust here

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Charlotte Gilks
Posted By Charlotte Gilks