FE me

9th March 2007 at 00:00

Helen blake Born:1969.

Job: Designer.

Attended: Cornwall College, 1985-87.

Studied: graphic design,ordinary national diploma.

Helen Blake is managing director of Absolute Design in Truro and came under the national spotlight when Jamie Oliver asked her to design his Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall. She admits working for the celebrity chef was `daunting', but she cooked up a design which pleased him and also brought a flood of orders for her services.

My favourite teacher was Stuart Odgers - he knew everything about print.

Ask a simple question and you could guarantee that coffee would be poured and an hour would pass. I loved the passion he had for his subject and wanted to feel the same about my career.

The creative courses were based in a shabby, five-floor high-rise. We would work late and were normally kicked out by the caretaker at 9pm.

I went back when I was 26 to teach. It was nice in a nostalgic way. I will always remember my college days as some of the best - the friends, the laughs, and everything I learnt has got me where I am.

There are never enough facilities at college, you just have make the best of what's there. Although you need to have drive, you also need to listen and to question things. A few of us still keep in touch. Simon Moore in Devon is the closest to me. We sometimes work on projects together.

I could have done with a bit more money and central heating in my college digs, and I should have ignored the advice that vodka doesn't give you a hangover - it does. The college food was awful, so I went to the pub or ate rubbish from the shop. But food wasn't that important. If I had the time over again, I wouldn't have done anything different. It was just right.

Helen Blake was talking to Shekhar Bhatia

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