Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


- To learn basic methods to work with wood and glass
- To learn to challenge the way we use of materials and experiment with the way we create
- To learn to reflect on own creative process and meaning making in written and visual forms
- To gain insight into one's own creativity

Credits: 3

Schedule: 19.04.2022 - 23.05.2022

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Tim Smith, Krista Kosonen, Merit Vaahtera

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    This course is for the curious and the ones who long for a creative and tactile break from basic academic work. The focus of the course is to make and experiment by hand, explore creativity and get to know the origins of materials via excursions to studios and nature. The making activities and personal creative process are documented in a working diary.  Attending the course doesn t need any previous experience on design or knowledge on materials. Having curiosity towards materials and hands-on making is enough.

    On the studio visits students try out the basic techniques of fresh wood whittling and glass blowing in collaboration with craftsmen and glassblowers. This making-by-hand is deepened with lectures on creative processes and reflection. Making guides the work, and reflection helps to gain insights retrospectively, when revisiting the making. Students learn to reflect on their making by doing small reflection assignments and sharing their insights in small groups. The main purpose of the reflection tasks is to help them to value and appreciate their creativity and individual experiences.

    The course takes influences from fine arts, sculptures, crafts and design. We will be using a design process where the idea as well as the shape is created and developed in a physical form in the hands of the maker, not in the immaterial world of the mind. We focus on the present moment, give space to mistakes and serendipity, and improvise as we proceed. This approach can be used by anyone who is willing to let go of excess control to gain a more intuitive and creative way of working.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Participation in class 20%
    Creative process 50%
    Reflection 20%
    Outcome & exhibition 10%

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Lectures, excursions, workshops, working diary, reflection exercises

    Lectures 10 h
    Workshops 14 h
    Exhibition 4 h
    Reflection 20 h
    Individual work 84 h

    80% attendance required


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Bayles, D., & Orland, T. (2001). Art & fear. Santa Cruz: The Image Continuum.

    Brown, B. (2010). The gifts of imperfection. Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden.

    McNiff, S. (1998). Trust the process. An artist's guide to letting go. Boston: Shambhala Publications.

    Mälkki, K. (2011). Theorizing the nature of reflection. Helsinki: University of Helsinki.

    Kosonen, K. (2018) Finding one s own way in design. Reflections on narrative professional identity. Doctoral dissertation. Helsinki: Aalto University.

    Kosonen, K., & Mäkelä, M. (2012). Designing platform for exploring and reflecting on creative process. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    Kosonen, K. (2011). Stones as experiences. Data as art Art as Data seminar 2011. Aalto University School of arts, design and architecture

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    UWAS course selection criteria: Registration order is not the primary selection criteria for this course. In order to ensure that students from different programs and schools of Aalto University may take UWAS courses, the selection is also based on the variety of students' disciplines. Master's students are also welcome.

    Minimum amount of students: 7

    Teaching Period:

    020-2021 Spring V (TSAKin päätös 11/2020, TSAK decision 11/2020)

    2021-2022 Spring V

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture: