Alumni Stories - Aoife Soden
People comprehend the importance of creative industries more than ever before. Get yourself out there, and find new and interesting ways to access an audience. This doesn’t have to just be in an online format, but it does require some creative thinking, something NCAD trains all of us for.
Name: Aoife May Soden
Current Career: Independent Business Owner ‘Aoife Soden Glass’
Graduation Year: 2012
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
What career path did you want to follow as a child?
As I child, I wanted to become either a teacher or an artist. I returned to art college after 13 years teaching in Australia and Ireland; and having overcome my fear of taking the less trodden path.
Why did you decide to study at National College of Art & Design?
Most importantly for me, NCAD had an extensive range of possibilities at an undergraduate level. This was vital for me as my experiences in first year ultimately led me to the glass department. I had never experienced glass before. The glass course also placed a broad focus on development of skills and the development of creative thinking. These fundamental skills have been vital for me. In my design and art practice, I developed the ability to switch between and merge skills.
How did you develop your career towards your current job / practice?
Initially, I worked as a glassblowing assistant for various studios and then for three years as Studio Manager of the hot glass studio at Ebeltoft Glass Museum in Denmark. This period allowed me the precious time to develop my skills and business knowledge whilst also keeping up my private practice. Since 2018, I work almost full-time in my own practice, which is split between design glass and art glass. I also work as an assistant or maker ‘gaffer’, for other glassblowers and designers.
What is the one experience – during your time at NCAD – that has informed you most in your work to date?
During a critique with a visiting artist in our final year, an artist asked how I had made a piece. I explained my process. He told me that he was glad that I hadn’t asked anyone before embarking on the process because they would have said what I planned to do was impossible. This mirrored what Dr Caroline Madden always told us, work from your ideas, not your perceived abilities. This is still one of the most difficult concepts for me to accept, but I always remember back to this experience and push forward.
If you were chatting with current NCAD students today, what is the one piece of advice you would offer?
Document everything, preferably online so you can always access it. I wish I could look through my sketchbooks which are hidden away in an attic. Always keep a sketchbook handy and record ideas in whatever form works best for you, you can always return to them, and as artists we often have a very cyclical way of thinking.
Given the global turmoil and change, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, what – in your opinion – are the opportunities for those in creative industries?
After this period of lockdown, people comprehend the importance of creative industries more than ever before. Get yourself out there, and find new and interesting ways to access an audience. This doesn’t have to just be in an online format, but it does require some creative thinking, something NCAD trains all of us for.
facebook: Aoife Soden Glass
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