Category Archives: School Projects

What the heck is Mokume-gane?

My jewelry class recently learned about and created pieces using a technique called mokume-gane. It is a fascinating process in which two contrasting metals are fused together to create a woodgrain-type pattern. Our class took a less than purist route by fusing together $3.00 in quarters. This is the cheaper, college route instead of using precious metals that are more costly. Once we had the mokume-gane formed, each person in my class treated the newly formed metal as if cost thousands of dollars. We knew the time and effort that was put in to make the new metal. Below are some photos taken during the process. Stay tuned for all my finished projects and pieces as we finish up our last week of class.

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When does marketable become cookie-cutter?

I’ve been busy making all sorts of earrings this summer. It is the first project for my summer metalsmith/jewelry making class. This first project was to create a series of seven pairs of earrings, each pair adding a different and more complex skill as we moved through the series.

A few examples from my first earring series. (In copper and brass.)

Today the final series was due and our class critiqued each other’s work and designs. Several times during the discuss, the class talked about marketable designs versus merely designing based on our (or the artists) own aesthetic. As our pieces were functional earrings, we talked about fashion and style and current trends. We talked about wearability and functionality. But the question that surfaced a few times was “What is more important: marketability or artist aesthetic?”

As a graphic design student, I can’t help but think there is not one easy answer to this question. I’m sure there are crops of artists, painters and sculptors who wouldn’t hesitate to say if the artist is true to his or her own aesthetic, then the buyers will come. That an artist shouldn’t be a slave to what sells. But if that were really true, the term starving artist wouldn’t exist, no? But does taking marketability and buying trends into account for design work automatically create cookie-cutter products? Does designing for a particular target audience negate true artistic aesthetic? Can these two concepts live together? Can an artist be profitable without selling his soul?

Close-up shot of a few of my favorite earring pairs. (In brass and copper)

This class provides a different perspective of design for me in a very functional sense. Throughout creating sketches and designs for each pair of earrings, I would ask myself if I would actually wear the earrings, would I give them as a gift, or can I imagine seeing them in a store. By using my own marketability as a gauge, am I still staying true to my aesthetic?

I think I’ve raised more questions in this post than answered. I would love to know your thoughts?

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Recent Work

I recently entered my work in the scholarship competition at school. Here are a few shots of my installation.

in other work

Now that the semester is winding down, I have a little more time to update my blog with some of my non-graphic design work. These images were from Photo 1. This was my favorite project. We were asked to find a portrait then recreate it and photograph using our own model. The second and fourth photos were found in “Artists: Portraits from Four Decades” by Arnold Newman. The other two are my recreated images using my husband as my model.

Sophomore Review: passed!

Until this point, even though my track was graphic design, I’ve been classified as pre-art. But as of last week, I’m officially in the graphic design program! Sophomore review consists of an installation of foundation work (10 pieces) and an interview in front of the entire art faculty. I was the second interview of the day and was happy to get it over early! We were asked questions about our work, our process for specific projects, why we wanted to be a graphic designer, contemporary inspirations, and other similar questions.

 The top piece with the mirrors was done in Drawing III as my final self-portrait. The “JK” ligatures were for typography. The montage was for Visual Literacy. The white piece was done for 3D Art. We used foam core board and were only able to utilize squares, triangles and rectangles for our design.

The 4 figures are 1-minute gesture drawings. Pioneer was my typography poster project. Bottom images were line art done in Visual Literacy. The tower was done in 3D with 1/8 inch dowel rods, string and glue, had to be at least 38 inches tall and be able to hold an 8-pound brick. On the pedestal is my book redesign and my color theory portfolio.