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I often find that my freshmen are afraid of doing it wrong – when you find yourself at college really chasing your dream every mark seems fraught and laden and dangerous. I spend some time at the beginning of the year trying to encourage them to loosen up and let go – and remember how to play. In 2D design last week we did some very large scale experimental drawings using all the materials we could round up. First each student made a large drawing individually, pushing the materials, and then we tried to amalgamate the whole group of drawings as a single piece by reworking areas. It ended up being so enormous we couldn’t even hang it up!! As a complete work it was not entirely successful, but parts of the drawing were really quite beautiful, and even if it didn’t encourage my students to play, it reminded me how much I enjoy drawing and I have been making crazy big experimental messes and loving it!

I think I have mentioned before that 2D design is NOT my favorite course to teach, but I think I am finally beginning to find ways to make the material match my style and to introduce new media and materials along with the principles which keeps the students engaged with the class. These printmaking additions were the unanimous favorite of my students this term. For a couple of years I have been sneaking in some printmaking – our school has a press, but no printmaking classes – first using the line unit – and making simple Plexiglas plate etchings. The students really love learning a new process and it makes the idea of making an image with only lines come alive for them. Here’s a few examples from this term’s group…

But the absolute hands down winner was suicide lino printing (reduction prints). Once they had wrapped their heads around the process, they dived in and experimented on different papers and substrates, and with all kinds of colour palettes (which was actually the point of the whole exercise – to experiment with colour). They produced some pretty amazing prints for students who had never even tried the process before. I was really thrilled at the critique to see how much risk they were willing to take! It is hard to take a risk when there’s a grade involved! So here’s a sample of that work too…

so the term ends, and both my drawing and 2D classes created self portraits incorporating ephemera. For the 2D students especially it is finally a chance to make something that is not a technical exercise. Here are some selections of their work.

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I am looking forward to winter break, especially as the lake effect snow machine has cranked up, and holing up in the studio with my own work!

So as promised here are some images from the 2D project. The idea was to take the concept of unity in a grid and build on that unity with a tessellation inspired by the work of Escher. For the second part of the project the students then had to add a focal point. It is a very large class and I couldn’t feature everyone, but here are some of the most successful examples

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My 2d Design class has been creating tessellations after the style of Escher. I got the first glimpse of them at a project deadline today, and I can’t wait to share them with you!! We talked about the use of pattern by several contemporary artists exhibiting right now, Murakami and Rob Pruitt who draw on two completely different cultures in their exploration of flat decoration! If any of you can think of others, let me know and I will share them with the students!!

In 2D design we have been considering the graphic properties of type, by overwhelming majority vote here is the classes favorite projects from this unit!

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