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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Project Graphic: Students Create Designs for Basket Exhibition

Katie2.jpgIt has recently become clear how difficult judging is; although we are no Project Runway, choosing one graphic design package from 18 diverse student projects is no easy task. This semester, Daniel Jasper's GDES 2351 Text and Image course worked with GMD to create marketing materials for the upcoming exhibition Quest for the World's Best Baskets. GMD supplied the students with professional images of the baskets and information about their origins and the exhibition. Each student created a poster, postcard, banner and text panel, all presented as one cohesive marketing theme from each student.

The process began with each student creating three drafts of a poster design. Each of the three designs Moraczewski_Katie-1.jpgrepresented a communications idea that could be applied to the other marketing materials. During a class session the students presented their three drafts, allowing GMD staff and guest curator Suzi McArdle to choose one of the three options for the student to continue working on. In a class of 18 students, and 54 draft designs, it was both exciting to see such a wide variety, and challenging to choose only one for each student. Through discussing and asking questions of each student, we were able to give them an idea of how to move forward. The students each gave a final presentation, speaking about the reasoning behind the campaign they created, followed by questions from GMD staff and McArdle.

We would like to recognize the top five students and winner: Scott Campbell, Jill Geldaker, Liz Qi, Brody Steineck, and winner Katie Moraczewski. Although the top five pieces are all very different, we were intrigued by each of their designs for different reasons. Liz's is fun and fresh, while Scott's is traditional and elegant, Jill's is colorful and detailed while Brody's is thought provoking; each of the 18 students took the time to create great designs. Ultimately we found that Katie's bold and contrasting designs had a simple and professional look that stood out from our previous marketing materials. We look forwarding to working with Jasper's classes next year, and although it is always a difficult choice, it is always a joy to see an array of designs from the students.

Scott_Campbell.jpg poster_Jill_Geldaker.jpg Brody_Steineck_Poster.jpg Liz Qi's Basket poster.jpg

By Jenny Parker: Goldstein Museum of Design Graduate Assistant, MFA candidate in Graphic Design and Museum Studies

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Art to Wear: Scarves by Vera

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GMD2010046144_02-jpg634503949871696023.pngVera Neumann's design career lasted from her label's emergence in 1942 until her death in 1993. She is most famous for designing scarves, although her products ranged from wallpaper to tablecloths to clothing. Each of her scarves was based on an original artwork that she created and most scarves are signed with a cursive "Vera." May of her works also were signed with a ladybug to represent good luck.

Last year, GMD was given over 400 Vera scarves, which I went through in order to write more detailed descriptions. Vera found inspiration everywhere and there is a huge range of designs, but there are certain characteristics that tend to be seen in Vera scarves, such as vibrant colors and a GMD2010046066_01-jpg634503960344566274.pngpainterly quality. She also liked to repeat certain themes. For example, she was a Leo, which is represented by the sun, and every collection she produced included a sun design.

Vera felt that art should not be limited to hanging on walls, which may explain why some of her scarves look like works of art, with a central design that does not repeat. Vera refused to color within the lines, and her designs often feature ink drawings with a wash of color that overlapped the edges.

Vera also created many abstract designs. Some appeared somewhat naive, with uneven, wavy lines, while others were very crisp and geometric. She used op-art inspired designs before many other designers.

Many of her designs were inspired by nature, whether they were more literal interpretations or abstractions. She painted GMD2010046129_01-jpg634503954119145088.pnglarge and small scale flowers, leaf designs, cherry blossoms based on trips to Japan and intricate India-inspired Paisley designs.

By Caitlin Cohn, Collections Assistant at GMD, and graduate student in the College of Design pursuing a PhD in Dress, History, and Culture



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Interiors & Furnishings Class: The Arts and Crafts Era

Jean_Kathleen_Class.JPGGMD's Jean McElvain and Kathleen Campbell were guest lecturers on Wednesday March 28, for Prof. Tasoulla Hadjiyanni's class, History of Interiors and Furnishings: 1750 to Present. They focused on arts and crafts era textiles, decorative arts objects, and costume. McElvain and Campbell both gave short lectures about designs during the period, then allowed students to get up close with pieces from the collection (without touching, or course).

Two standout pieces were a pair of tall ceramic Rookwood candleholders from 1919, a Gift of Marian Ortolf Bagley. Rookwood was founded by Maria Longworth Nichols in 1880, GMD1988008003-5-jpg634056447080488168.jpgand spent the first several years perfecting glazes. Matte green and blue glazes like this became a hallmark for arts and crafts pottery at the turn of the century. In addition to vases and other pot-like vessels, Rookwood produced tiles, drinking mugs, paper weights, book ends, and figurines. In 1883 Rookwood was featured at the Chicago World's Fair where it won a "highest award," giving Rookwood international recognition.

McElvain and Campbell were happy to teach class for a day, giving students a diverse experience with design history. You too can get up close with the collection! You can schedule a group visit to our Research Center, visit our current exhibitions, or find which membership levels offer behind the scenes tours. GMD produces high quality programs, supports collection preservation, and educates the public through object-based learning. What will you do during your next visit?

*Correction: this is not a Roseville piece, as stated in the winter 2012 GMD Newsletter

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GMD Volunteer Profile: Linda Webster

IMG_7671.jpgGMD is lucky not only to have great supporters, but talented and engaged volunteers. Linda Webster has been a GMD volunteer since 2009, but was familiar with us before then. Webster was a frequent visitor of GMD in the past; "I found the exhibits really intriguing, and something you didn't see in depth at other museums." When she first began as a GMD volunteer, she worked with staff to develop and implement new practices for the GMD membership program.

Webster is now working on the Preserving Costume through Re-housing project (supported by a grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services), and was trained by GMD staff to work with shoe preservation. Volunteers working with shoes must assemble carrying cases, affix tracking labels, and prepare items for storage with various museum quality materials to preserve the shape of the shoe. Webster finds the shoe designs "are always so intriguing. The colors, the design, the workmanship, the different eras... sometimes I have déjà vu, because they look like something I have worn!"

With an undergraduate degree in Art and Business (Western Michigan University) and Masters in Public Policy Planning (University of Arizona), Webster has been able to use many of her IMG_7653.jpgtalents while volunteering with GMD. Webster is also an artist; she recently returned to her interest in watercolor painting, and she attends the monthly seminars at Phipps Center for Arts, where she has exhibited work. When asked what keeps her coming back to GMD, Webster replied; "The staff is friendly and supportive, and it is fun to get a peek at what they are doing."

We are grateful to have talented and versatile volunteers who enjoy supporting design. You too can support design by applying to be a GMD volunteer. You can also make a tax-deductible donation to help GMD produce high quality programs, support collection preservation, and educate the public through object-based learning.

By Jenny Parker: Goldstein Museum of Design Graduate Assistant, MFA candidate in Graphic Design and Museum Studies

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Glasses: From Spectacle to Fashion

In the late 13th century a monk, Alessandro della Spina-- who had the extraordinary ability to recreate any man-made article he had ever seen, reproduced and distributed spectacles that had been designed by an anonymous inventor. However, eyeglasses were first documented in China by Marco Polo during the same period, so it is likely that they were used in China prior to when they were seen in Europe.

In the following centuries, glasses went through various iterations. The first lenses were only useful to those who were far-sighted and were thus only helpful to those who actually knew how to read. The first spectacles for those who were nearsighted were invented in the 16th century. By 1519 there were jointed eyeglasses that could be folded together and used as a magnifying glass. It was not until the 18th century that anyone developed a practical means for keeping glasses in place--temple spectacles that were held in place with rigid side-pieces-- but they were not fashionable.

During most the 19th century no eyeglasses worn on the face were considered fashionable, but after the 1840's pince-nez proliferated. Pince-nez are a type of eyeglasses that are held in place by a clip on the nose. Most women wore oval rimless pince-nez on a gold chain, but wearing any kind of eyeglasses often was considered very unattractive. Lorgnettes, or glasses attached to a handle that can be folded together to use as a magnifying glass or opened and held up to the face were used by fashionable women and thus became more acceptable. In contrast, today glasses are seen as both medical devices and a way to express one's personal style.

Love spectacles? Glasses from GMD's Collection are now on view in a vitrine in McNeall Hall, room 32.

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Goggles with Amber Lenses, 1900-1919, Gift of Mrs. Myron S. Parsons

By Caitlin Cohn, Collections Assistant at GMD, and graduate student in the College of Design pursuing a PhD in Dress, History, and Culture