India Stanbra moved down from Manchester in the North of England a few months ago to join our BA Fine Art course. As part of our ‘In the Beginning’ series where we interview new Chelsea students, we asked India what she thought of the course so far.

image courtesy of the artist India Stanbra Why did you choose to study at Chelsea?

I was intrigued by the fluid nature of the shared studio spaces which allows my work to not be defined or limited by an enclosed individual space.

What has surprised you most about your university experience so far?

The amount of time I am able to devote to developing my own practice. It’s great that the structured elements of the course are also largely self-directed, allowing me to feed my reading and theory into my practical work.

What  have you been working on so far in your first term? 

This term I have been experimenting with the notion of materiality in relation to space and the viewer’s experience. I have developed an interest in using found objects and materials in my practice, letting this ‘automated’ step in the process dictate the forms and ideas that emerge. Led by this process, I am currently experimenting with the properties of marble and various found plastics, using the weight of the heavy marble to manipulate the lighter plastics. I am curious as to how the formal elements of my work (line/balance/tension/tactility) affect the viewer’s experience of the work and the associations they might draw from the object.

I have enjoyed exploring the studio space with my found objects and materials, experimenting with how I might encourage the spectator to feel a heightened awareness of their presence in the space.

image courtesy of the artist India Stanbra

What skills have you learned so far in the workshop? Have you used any materials or processes that you haven’t used before?

I have been learning how to make and cast moulds in the foundry using plaster and wax. This has been interesting as it parallels my current emphasis on materiality. Up until this point my experiments had a strong emphasis on the properties of found materials. In relation to this I was interested in exploring the idea of altering the properties of my materials yet retaining the form and creating simulations of one of my found marble off-cuts in wax and plaster.

What do you get up to outside of college time?

I have been enjoying visiting exhibitions and exploring the London night life.

What sort of accommodation are you living in? 

I’m living in UAL student halls at the Glassyard building in Stockwell. The location is great because I can walk into university which saves a lot of money on travel and it’s so close to Brixton.

image courtesy of the artist India Stanbra Do you have any money saving tips for getting by as a student in London?

Shop at Lidl and walk as much as possible.

Is there any advice you would give to prospective students thinking of applying to your course?

Don’t be intimidated by the pressure the course can put on you, as this is so helpful in pushing your practice forward and giving you something to work towards.

Describe your experience at Chelsea so far in 3 words.

Inspiring. Liberating. Exciting.

image courtesy of the artist India Stanbra Find out more about the Chelsea BA Fine Art course.