Established over 30 years ago, KLC is a specialist school, providing high quality, innovative and in-depth Interior and Garden Design courses for UK and international students. The school’s marketing coordinator, Christine Ardley, recently attended one of Sue’s lectures and blogs here about the experience.
Whether from a residential or commercial perspective, the study of textiles, soft furnishings and upholstery is an important aspect to any interior design course. Here at KLC School of Design we take great pride in ensuring that our students are given the best possible training before they enter the industry; which is why Sue Whimster is a regular guest lecturer for our courses.
Sue has been lecturing at KLC for around seven years, after being introduced to the school by interior designer and KLC Alumni, Alice Constable-Maxwell of ACM Interiors. Since then, she has been delivering specialist textiles lectures and advising students at all levels, from the introductory courses all the way up to our university-level qualification courses.
Last Friday, Sue was speaking to a class of around twenty part time students about curtains, blinds and shutters. During her hour-long lecture she covered linings, fabrics and headings, as well as how to resolve tricky design situations with workarounds, or by thinking outside the box.
The students always enjoy listening to Sue; her relaxed and personable style of lecturing quickly draws in the group and holds their attention right through to the end. Peppering her presentation with various entertaining anecdotes from her professional life, Sue is never self-aggrandising – in fact, she uses her own previous mistakes to illustrate and instruct her classes.
During her lecture today, she told the students a hilarious and cautionary tale relating to never promising 100% darkness when quoting for blackout curtains. Early in her career, Sue made this promise to a particularly tricky gentleman, who quickly pulled her up about it when a single sliver of light was visible in his bedroom after the curtains had been fitted. The design of the window meant that Sue was unable to rectify the situation, so she attempted to appease the gentleman by sending him a blackout eye-mask made from the same material as the curtains … This story was met with much amusement and almost all the students made note of it for future reference!
After the class, I caught up with Sue for a quick chat.
So tell me, what do you enjoy most about teaching?
Definitely the interaction with the students – it’s always great when they’re engaged and ask loads of questions. That can be hard as well though; it certainly tests your knowledge. But at least it means they’ve listened!
And you lecture to all of the students here at KLC?
Yes, from the introductory courses up to the Diploma. It’s important for interior designers of all levels to have a good knowledge of soft furnishings, as they’ll probably work with a specialist curtain maker or upholsterer at some point in their careers and they’ll need to be able to communicate their ideas successfully. Building up a relationship with a good curtain maker can also be really advantageous – especially when a client comes to you with an idea that isn’t really feasible and you need to be able to adapt it to fit the design.
Ok, so at what stage of a design project would you get involved?
It’s normally towards the end. The great thing about fabrics is that they can be used to bring a design together; to really tie it all up. We’ve done some lovely work previously where we’ve used curtains to create a focal point, such as around a beautiful work of art, or we’ve tied in the upholstery to compliment a gorgeously expensive rug.
Have you worked with any KLC Alumni?
Oh absolutely – having been lecturing here for almost a decade means that I’ve worked with quite a few! Claire Gaskin springs to mind – we’ve done a lot of work with her. Nicky Bailey is another and also Sam O’Grady of Oliver Bea Design, and Cathy Emmins. Another former KLC Student who I’ve worked with is Vanessa Buirski.
KLC School of Design courses are based on practical, industry-relevant design education and this is only possible through our relationships with companies such as Sue’s; therefore we would like to thank Sue Whimster Curtains & Soft-Furnishings for their continued support and interaction with our students. We look forward to seeing you again soon!