An Exploration in Stained Glass- Youtube Video

Here is the link to my Youtube video on Stained Glass. Enjoy!

An Exploration on Stained Glass


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Black Mountain

After our lecture on John Cage and hearing the words “Black Mountain” being thrown around, I sought to find out what Black Mountain actually was. The school was founded in Black Mountain, North Carolina in 1933 and focused on both liberal and fine arts inside and outside of the classroom. It only took a few years for the school to really take off and soon it featured some of the greatest minds of the time. Among its first professors were Josef and Anni Albers, who fled Nazi Germany after the closing of the Bauhaus, as well as Walter Gropius, Willem de Kooning, and Buckminster Fuller. Albert Einstein was also on its Board of Directors. They closed their doors in 1953 after only twenty years, but the students and faculty realized that the school had achieved its goals in expanding the possibilities of an American education. After reading more about John Cage and his process of turning ordinary events into music, I came across the term “happening.” Happenings, used as a noun, are events or situations where artists set up a circumstance but leave room for improvisation. Cage, for example, set up twelve radios but left it to chance what exactly the radios would be playing. In high school, I participated in a workshop on happenings. Actually acting in a happening is different than just setting one up, you must listen to the words being spoken, music being played, etc., and connect it with how you feel. If what you hear makes you want to lay on the ground and look at the sky, then you do that. If it makes you want to dance, run, hug someone, stomp around, get angry, then you are free to express those things. Other examples of modern performance happenings are flash mobs, subway parties (masses of people boarding one train), etc. As I found out more about Black Mountain, I began to see how the connections people made there influenced their work and developed American culture. It influenced many other educational institutions with its cross-genre programs and experimental ideals.

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Iteration in Letter Posters

As our recent project on typography is drawing to a close, I look back at the journey as one I wish to see repeated in my future projects. As each step of the project was assigned, I began to realize the importance of thought process, iteration, and improvement. Starting with a simple “B” and turning it into an entire alphabet in the form of a vectorized poster showed me how there is always room for more development. I enjoyed seeing each step, from the B to our initials to our initials on a printed poster to our initials vectorized on our poster and finally expanded into the breadth of the alphabet, come to life. Being able to physically see the improvements I made and be able to reflect on the journey really did help the idea of “process” click with me. Finished pictures to come! Smilie: :-)

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They Were Wrong

On Monday, February 25, several students and I went to a presentation at the Career Fair called “Design for the workplace well-being – beyond fitness centers and ergonomics.” In this presentation, Kay Sargent (Teknion: VP Architecture, Design, and Workplace Strategies) discussed how the open office plan that so many companies were taking advantage of was actually detrimental to the worker’s well-being. Surprisingly, this is very different than what the first year interior students were told on their trip to D.C. in October. All of the firms that we visited were on board with the open office plan, where cubicles were nonexistent and every worked side by side at their desks. Unfortunately, in the months since then they have realized how this has led to an increase in the number of sicknesses being passed around. Many of the companies we visited had abandoned the idea of cubicles, unless requested, and were designing for these new set ups. Steelcase, an office furniture giant, showed us furniture almost exclusively tailored to open floor plans.

These open office plans cater to the extrovert, people who thrive in situations where they have access to people constantly and work with teams. Unfortunately, as Susan Cain explains in her book “Quiet” (and the Ted talk I’ll post a link to), a third to a half of the population lean towards introverted tendencies. In our world, extroverts are seen as the leaders, but introverts have power that is not being used to its potential.  I encourage you to watch this Ted talk whether you identify as an introvert and extrovert and acknowledge the 3 ideas that Susan Cain offers for us.

The Power of Introverts



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Software in Interior Design

In October when the interior design group took a trip to Washington D.C., the subject of software and rendering came up. As we walked through Gensler’s never ending hallway of projects, I was amazed at the effects and realism that the presentations displayed. Throughout the trip, I asked the different firms we visited what type of software they preferred. All of the firms we visited (Steelcase, Gensler, Fox Architects), said the same thing: If they weren’t already switched into Rhino, they were in the process of leaving AutoCAD for the Rhinoceros software. I would imagine that switching programs would be a big deal, and something that the management seriously thought about. It seems like Rhino is an up and coming program that more and more firms are putting their confidence in. Since I am speaking mostly about interior here (I cannot say about other disciplines since we mainly only talked with interior groups from the firms), I also learned that many interior designers use Sketch Up on a regular basis. Second year professors on the trip let us know that we will begin using Sketch Up in our second year of interior design often. It’s comforting to know that I am learning the same programs that are being used in the career field, and I’m learning them early on in my education.

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Portfolio Link

You can view my online portfolio here

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Things I Would Change

Looking back, there are several things I’d like to challenge myself to improve on next semester. I’m writing them out now so I can keep them in mind for later and in case you guys wanted to challenge yourself with some of these as well.

-Patience. Too often I don’t plan the exact details of a project out enough and run into issues along the road.

-Sketching. I don’t think you can ever sketch too much, but I’ve come to learn that the more I sketch, the more ideas I have and the more successful I am (I know, that sound be obvious).

-Research. I really enjoyed writing my paper on Zaha Hadid because I learned about other ways to think about projects. Researching things I’m interested in can open my mind up to more possibilities.

-Keep a cleaner desk. I’ve found that I can work much more efficiently when I know where all the supplies I will need are and can easily access them.

-Less multi-tasking. I learned after the lecture on this that I need to be careful about what I’m doing while I work. Things like talking and listening to music can help pass the time, but they can also become distractions very easily.




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Belvedere Gardens

One of the highlights of the semester for me was our trip to Belvedere Gardens. As I said during class afterwards, cemeteries usually freak me out, but this one was different. We were told it was modeled after European mausoleums that focus on celebrating the deceased life, instead of traditional American lawn cemeteries that are dull and dreadful. The design of the mausoleum mimicked the surrounding landscape, making it feel natural to be there. It also featured warm, earthy colors that inspired comfort, instead of the gray tombstones that have become a symbol of decay and death.

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Ever since the lecture on multi-tasking last Wednesday, I’ve really examined what my habits are while I’m working. If I’m doing a mundane, repetitious task, I’ll usually turn on a tv show, but any other time I almost always have music. I had convinced myself that listening to the show was the same as listening to music, but this week I stayed away from shows and found that I worked a lot better. I thought about my design a lot more as I worked and therefore my thinking process sped up. I was surprised at the difference that turning off my computer and turning on my music made. I also remember what Dr. Doolittle said about keeping your work space clutter free. I tried really hard to keep my desk clean of supplies that I wasn’t using, and I found that actually really helped my efficiency as well. I’m really glad I heard that lecture and I’d encourage everyone to try out his suggestions.

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Christmas Cheer

Do Christmas decorations affect your mood? Honestly, seeing my dorm suite full of lights, candy canes, snowmen, and more of the general holiday additives always makes my mood a little better. It’s the same situation with our corner in studio, it makes it feel a little more welcoming. Why is it that a few decorations can make such a difference? My theory is that  it’s because they remind us of the time of the year where most of us get to slow down for a little while and appreciate time with our family and friends. Seeing the decorations in my studio and in my dorm keep me hopeful that the day is coming soon where I’ll get to go home and be with my family for more than just a day and really get to spend time with them for the first time in a while. Going a step further, I wonder if the way an interior is decorated on a regular occasion can affect our moods. I think the answer is absolutely. Just in Cowgill, we can compare room 300 to our fourth floor studio. The drab, grayness of room 300 can put anyone to sleep, no matter how much coffee they’ve had. Then take our lively studio, people experience it brim over with creativity and energy. Outsiders walk in with wonder and curiosity. The huge contrast is a mystery to me, although one could come up with a few reasons. Since 300 is primarily a lecture room, lack of distractions means more focus on the lecturer. It’s also a clean, open space, which may be useful to us along the road if we need to get away from the clutter of our desks. It’s interesting to me to see how different rooms affect me differently, and I look forward to studying more about interiors in the future.

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