Back, Back At It, and Teaching is the Best
After two months in the woods of the northwest, I’m back in the northeast. I’m still processing my time away and putting together documentation of photographs, sketches and projects completed. I miss the beauty and slower pace of the woods, but not starting a fire every night.
I was honored just 1.5 days after my arrival to visit Parson’s Product Design department and give a talk on Design Research. It was a great way to get back into the swing of things. Good to know that talking to a group of people is kinda like riding a bike (another activity I sorely missed!) After my talk, I spoke with several students about their senior projects and am really looking forward to checking out their final show in May.
I was also very excited to begin a new class at Drexel University last week. This quarter I’m teaching a class called “Process Studio” where the students are taken through the steps of approaching a design problem. I’m extra honored that the class is designing projects with SEPTA (Philly’s mass transit) in mind: specifically how recycling in stations can be improved, and how to facilitate better connection between cycling to public transportation. My contact Becky at SEPTA is a bad ass and gave great presentations to the students and unveiled several specific challenges, such as bike racks like the one above.
Now I’m just waiting for the buds to start blooming on the trees, and spring will truly be complete.
What’s going on? Big, bad blogger update
It’s been a hectic few months. I’ve taught another class at Drexel and been super excited from all the work that came out of it, I’ve worked on some amazing projects for work, made some major improvements to my home in Brooklyn, taken a ton of photographs, and done a whole lot of running on my way to qualify for the NYC Marathon.
I’m currently on a self-imposed sabbatical to Washington State. For two months, I’ll be working on personal projects before I return to New York City in spring (I’d say it’s good timing, except the rainiest of seasons is upon me in the NW).
I’ve also set up a personal project blog, Seen and Sewn. This is where I’ll be posting during my time in the woods, so please check it out if you’d like.
See you in April.
Excited to be back teaching at Drexel U’s for the Product Design department. I’m teaching a class to sophomores about to be juniors. It’s a seminar called “Professional Landscape” and is all about discovering the way to frame oneself as a designer: basically, what the hell are you gonna do when you’ve left the school studio and classroom behind.
My small class of 8 is great so far. I’m looking forward to learning more about them and what they discover over the next two months.
I made them create a blog (props to the class for the sweet title). They’ll be posting weekly and most of them have introductions and more up. Check it out.
It’s going to be a great summer!
URBN Center Open House
Last Friday Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, where I began teaching within Product Design last quarter, held an open house to celebrate its new building. A Robert Venturi building reconfigured with many layers of half floors by MS&R Architects, I’ve been wondering just what else is going on here. Though I’ve had an opportunity to explore during my weekly trips to Philly, it was great to get completely lost in the maze-like structure and happen upon work by other departments.
A large green screen in Digital Media’s Motion Capture Studio, top; spools of yarn in Fashion’s knitwear studio.
Some cool things I found: students busy working on their collections in Fashion (Spring Fashion Show will be June 6!), a research funded video game in Digital Media Replay Lab to help children with motion deficiencies, an enormous green screen room, and great boards and models to explore in both Architecture and Interior Design. In Product Design, we showed off our super open studio layout and facilities, including our Maker Bot that churned out Mario Dragons.
An exploration in Interior and Architecture, top; laser cut dragon by a Product Design student.
It’s inspiring to know that some very cool stuff is going on in the whole Media Arts and Design community. I’m looking forward to getting lost some more this summer.
Enjoying the light and brisk air of a late afternoon happy hour in what just may finally be spring-like weather with Sara McBeen and her lovely blue layering (with just a touch of red).
It’s been a few weeks since my last post, and there’s a lot to catch up on here! The most exciting thing that has happened (besides the temperature staying above freezing) has been the completion of my design research class at Drexel University. I was really proud to see my group of product design, engineering and business majors tackle the process of engaging users and finding inspiration from real peoples’ needs for their designs. At just 10 weeks, the quarter system is pretty intense, and I was amazed at the work accomplished.
After lectures and individual exercises structured to prepare the students to speak with users and frame findings, the class broke into five groups based on topics brainstormed by the students. The final consisted of a presentation, ideation models, and the unveiling of a final design direction.
Top left, Team Fridge demonstrates accessibility with a full-size prototype; top right, Project Backpack crew with sewn (you know I loved this) mock-ups; bottom left and right, Team Shoe explorations and models for a more ergonomic heel.
I’d like to congratulate Teams Fridge, Holographic Projection, Clock, Shoe, and Backpack. I can’t even describe how awesome of an experience it was getting to know the students and see how they responded to research with critical and creative thinking.
I wish them all good luck with co-ops and next quarters, and can’t wait to see everyone back in Philly soon.
Testing out my newly finished shirt: a button-up made from Japanese flannel. More details in an upcoming post.
Photo by Nina D’Amario.
Some fantastic finds at Uniqlo yesterday. I always love to see how they treat the button-up, and I secured some nice spring shirts and two scarves.
Some details I appreciate: the square sleeve tie on the dotted shirt and the (not shown) shortened cuffs, and the contrast of a dark, heavy toned plaid on a lightweight, almost sheer fabric in a boxy cut.
I’ll start layering these straight away, and the scarves will easily take me from any lingering snow flurries to the upcoming light jacket days.
Button Placement, at last: Now that 5 days of exhausting focus group prep and execution are over, I finally get to place button holes and buttons on my grey and black checked flannel shirt. Really love the metal buttons I chose.