Design I // Suddeth Elementary School Installation

Fall 2016: For Design I’s final project, I wanted to do a collaborative vinyl installation similar to one my class did a couple years ago as blogged about HERE, but in a location with more permanency to be enjoyed by the public. Getting students outside of the classroom to put their skills to use opens them up to the realization that the things they are learning in this freshman level class has meaning and a place in the world.

I contacted Suddeth Elementary School in Starkville, MS to gauge their interest in the project. They happily accepted, and they considered windows throughout their campus that would be an inviting place for colorful vinyl stickers. This hallway with two sets of windows was chosen by their faculty committee for this project:

Next we had to determine a theme. Suddeth’s faculty committee decided to illustrate quotes based on kindness per set of windows: Plant Kindness, Grow Love and Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti.

My class was split so half were to work on one quote, and the other half focusing on the other quote. Each student brainstormed with a series of thumbnails, and I helped them narrow down to their best idea to be drawn in more detail on proportionally gridded spaces on typing paper in relation to the window dimensions. Then my students voted on the strongest sketches in the class, 3 designs for each quote for a total of 6 ideas.

I invited Principle Mosley to come to our class for a presentation of the top 6 sketches to choose the top theme for each quote. School counselor Mrs. Caradine joined her. After the presentations, they consulted their faculty committee and chose the final designs (labeled as WINNERs below).

Below are images of the top 6 sketches and presentations :

Plant Kindness, Grow Love


Anna Terry’s sketch


Anna Terry’s presentation


Caroline Fitzwater’s sketch


Caroline Fitzwater’s presentation


WINNER: Meghan Norman’s sketch


WINNER: Meghan Norman’s presentation

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti


Savannah Martinez’s sketch


Savannah Martinez’s presentation


Megan Henry’s sketch


Megan Henry’s presentation


WINNER: Melissa Sones’ sketch


WINNER: Melissa Sones’ presentation

Meghan and Melissa were so excited to have their designs chosen!

I scanned in their designs and worked on various color combinations using Adobe Illustrator, only using yellow, blue, red, and green. I also added a fun elementary-feel typeface for the text in place of their sketched handwriting.


Meghan Norman’s design with color


Melissa Sones’ design with color

The vinyl was ordered and shipped, so it was time to cut out the stickers! The digital images were projected to scale onto our classroom wall. Students traced off the shapes onto the corresponding colors of vinyl with Sharpies, and handed them off to another group  who cut out the shapes with an X-acto knife and peeled away the unnecessary background vinyl. Then large-surface masking tape was applied on top of the vinyl sticker and labeled to be fully prepped to operate as a sticker for installation day.

Finally it was installation day! Students carpooled over to the school that rainy morning and we got to work.


Organizing (and sometimes improvising) stickers


Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer


Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer


Working together to separate, organize, and install stickers


Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer


Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer


The finished product!


The finished product!


The whole crew: (Top left–right) Mary Katherine Swindoll, me, Tess Frazier, Savannah Martinez, Meghan Norman, Karleigh Harfst, Anna Terry, Hayden Hunt, Dee Triplett & Eric Lindsey. (Bottom left–right) Ashtyn Carpenter, Melissa Sones, Megan Henry, Caroline Fitzwater, Haley Lawrence & Elise Sears.

The project was featured on Mississippi State University’s “State Spotlight” blog on December 8th and MSU’s College of Architecture, Art + Design blog on December 7th.

We greatly appreciate the opportunity of Suddeth Elementary School opening up their hallway for us to use as canvases, and hope the children and faculty enjoy these art installations for many years to come!



Design I // Fall 2014 // What Goes Up Must Come Down

Last semester my small Design I crew did a collaborative project– a vinyl sticker installation designed and placed by them.  It was a fun project, and added a nice splash of color in front of Howell Hall on Mississippi State University’s campus.  Read about the project HERE. But alas, the time has come for it to come down.


Taking down the installation has proven to be more work than putting it up! To remove the stickers, we’re using razor scrapers and pulling it away from the window when it allows. Then we have to remove the sticky left behind on the windows with acetone, cleaner, and LOTS of scrubbing.  We’re working on it little-by-little on Friday mornings, so there is still a little bit left to go.

But something interesting happened last Friday.  While we were working that morning, a number of students were passing by heading to class.  Some glanced at us in curiosity; others didn’t seem to know we were there. Then I noticed in the window reflection a guy standing a few paces away staring at us. I turned to see if we were blocking him from entering the building.

He said, “What class did this?”

I replied, “Design I last semester.”

He asked, “Why are you taking it down?”

“Because that’s just the rules.”

He seemed almost offended that we were taking it down.  “It’s just that I remember walking past this building after it was put up, and….” His voice trailed off and he walked away shaking his head in pity.

HOW WONDERFUL!  A student on campus was impacted by the installation, and hated to see it go.  That makes me happy.

Creative Quarterly Runner-Up

I am pleased to announce that Creative Quarterly magazine voted my Cloud Gazing paper installation Runner-Up in the Professional Fine Art category for their 38th publication.  (Might I add that this installation is still available for purchase?)


This is my second time to receive recognition from Creative Quarterly. Last spring I was awarded Runner-Up in the Student Illustration category for their 35th publication.


Design I Collaborative Vinyl Public Installation

First off, I just read I now have 635 followers on this blog.  Is this real life?!  Thank you to everyone who likes to read what I post!

My Design I class at Mississippi State University is composed of 4 students.  That may seem small, but they are mighty!  We have had a good time together this semester.  The art department encourages basic design classes to work on a collaborative project.  When I was thinking of project ideas, I remembered seeing Louisiana Tech University design classes make vinyl sticker installations on their classroom floor.  They also placed vinyl stickers on windows and along stairways.

I thought that the window entrance of the building we have class in, Howell Hall, would look great with a splash of color!  We have access to a vinyl cutter, so we got to work.


Each of my students filled 4 sheets of paper with clean, abstract, geometric and organic doodles with Sharpies or Micron pens. Next I scanned the sheets into the computer, enlarged the imagery to fill the width of the vinyl roll, and imported the shapes into the Cutting Master software. This software communicated to the vinyl cutter where to cut shapes into the vinyl sheets.


The machine took about 30 minutes to cut out each student’s design sheets. Then I picked the negative space vinyl with a tiny tool so I could pull it away and discard it.

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Then it was ready to install! My students were a little skeptical at first, as the stickers were really sticky and it took them awhile to get in the hang of it. But before the first day of installing was over, they really got into the process! They found it freeing to make quick decisions, and the repetitive nature of picking and sticking allowed them to be reflective in mind. The colors reminded them of Nickelodeon and Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine van. As time moved on, they carried on in fun conversation while they worked. My tiny, quiet class became more talkative as they learned about each other and worked together to create their public installation.

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A lot was accomplished that first day of installment! Today they finished up, and felt very proud of their hard work.


Students, left to right: George Kinsey (interior design), Melanie Moore (art), Katie Fretesi (interior design) Not pictured– Haley Beckham (interior design)


It will be on display for two months! Go check it out and enjoy!

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Featured by Elsa Mora

I need to get in the hang of promoting my work, so I emailed my paper images to some of my paper artist heroes– Helen Hiebert, Denise Fleming, Elsa Mora, and Rob Ryan‘s personal assistant. They all responded and were so kind! I feel a little star-struck right now.  You should click on their names and see the fantastic things they do.

On June 23rd, Elsa was kind enough to feature my Cloud Gazing installation on her paper blog All About Papercutting and Facebook!  She even shared that it was for sale. (No offers received yet!) Seeing that 132 strangers “liked” the post, and 13 “shared” the link on Facebook just blew this young artist’s mind. Many thanks to Elsa for promoting my work!

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Cloud Gazing for Sale!

My installation Cloud Gazing was a huge feat for me.  A lot of love and time went into the making of this project, but now it is sitting in my grandparents’ dining room all alone.  There has to be a use for it somewhere!  Any inquiries to display or buy, please contact me at  I will receive offers.  To view more images, visit, or my blog post My MFA Thesis Show.


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