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:
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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

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Anna Terry’s sketch

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Anna Terry’s presentation

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Caroline Fitzwater’s sketch

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Caroline Fitzwater’s presentation

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WINNER: Meghan Norman’s sketch

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WINNER: Meghan Norman’s presentation

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti

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Savannah Martinez’s sketch

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Savannah Martinez’s presentation

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Megan Henry’s sketch

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Megan Henry’s presentation

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WINNER: Melissa Sones’ sketch

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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.

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Meghan Norman’s design with color

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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.

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Organizing (and sometimes improvising) stickers

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Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer

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Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer

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Working together to separate, organize, and install stickers

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Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer

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Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer

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The finished product!

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The finished product!

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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!

 

Cloud Gazing Installation Progress Photos

I received so much help casting paper balls.  It seemed like a never-ending endeavor!

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All this hard work was to build my cloud installation entitled Cloud Gazing.  As a child I remember staring at the white, puffy clouds in the sky and making out shapes and figures using my imagination.  This memory was the inspiration for this installation.

Posted below are progress photos that were taken along the way.  So much junk white paper was used to create all the components.  I even took the time to tear off any ink that was on these sheets of paper to avoid any discoloration of the clouds.  Gorilla glue and hot glue held the pieces together.  Various buckets and containers were used as moulds for some forms.  Styrofoam, cardboard, packing tape, and aluminum tubing were also used for certain figures.  Pulp was pressed over glue seams to conceal them.

CASTLE

I spent the most time on the castle cloud.  I envisioned it to be a very large cloud to hang from the ceiling.

IMG_1853b IMG_1981b IMG_1982bAt this point, the cloud was too big to proceed working on it in my studio.  I took it to the campus workshop, flipped it over, and suspended it on wooden sticks to continue adding half-spheres to the bottom. But to my dismay, it was an extremely humid, rainy weekend.  The wet areas of the castle cloud continued to spread to dry areas.  Some friends and I tried to pick it up carefully and move it into another room, but then….IMG_1998b….it fell APART!  I was completely heartbroken.  So much time, effort, and materials went down the drain.  Fortunately, the top half of the castle was salvageable.

IMG_2003bThe next day, I got back to work to recreate a new castle cloud.   This new version was so much sturdier based on my previous experience.  Due to my time constraints in finishing this cloud, the photo below is the only in-progress photo I have of my new-and-improved castle cloud.  It ended up not being as large, but I found it more aesthetically pleasing.

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OCTOPUS

I wanted this component to be really whimsical.  It ended up as a floor piece.  A lot of styrofoam was used for the head and tentacles.

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MERMAID TAIL

My first VHS tape when I was a toddler was The Little Mermaid.  I was OBSESSED.  I watched it way too much on a daily basis.  The little girl in me had to have a mermaid tail component.  A lot of styrofoam was used for it, as well.  It also became a floor piece.

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I used the side of a ruler to press fish scale lines into the body of the tail.IMG_1984b

AIRPLANE

For the guys, I decided to make an airplane cloud.  I found a styrofoam airplane flyer in the toy aisle, and it was the perfect size.

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LION HEAD

I wanted a scary component to mix things up.  I intended it to be a lion, but I’ve also heard it called a bear and a monster, which is totally cool!  That’s how cloud gazing works, right?  To start it off, I had to create a pretty complex mould for the face.  An Iron Man mask was a fantastic base.  Then I used styrofoam and duct tape to make it more lion-like.  I envisioned for the head to turn into the edge of a cloud.

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Wet pulp.IMG_1743b IMG_1744b IMG_1985b

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CLOUD CLUSTERS

The half-sphere paper casts were hot glued together, and Great Stuff insulation spray was used to fill in the gaps. Pulp was eventually applied to cover up the foam.  These were to hang directly on the wall.

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My next post will be photos of the final installation and the rest of my work in the MFA thesis show!