This is one of the two final posts on my Learning Portfolio for this year and semester. As one should be able to tell from the title, this post focuses on my time and experience spent in my Integrative Seminar 2 class. Let’s begin. To start, my name is Megan Taylor; I am currently a student going into a Fashion Design (BFA) major here at Parsons the New School for Design, and I am wrapping up my Freshman year as we speak. My fascination with the world of fashion and art has lingered around nearly all my life. During my first year here at Parsons, I noticed a stark contrast between my two semesters. Whilst I studied during the fall, the majority of my courses focused on craft and the manual labor put into an idea; whereas once spring semester came around all of my effort was put into research and organizational skills (tools needed to back up and explain ideas). Throughout the fall semester, I took courses such as: Drawing and Imaging, Space and Materiality, Integrative Studio 1: Memory, and Integrative Seminar 1: Memory. These courses each challenged me through: woodworking, wire-sculpting, charcoal and graphite sketching, pastel drawings, and studio work in general. My bridge projects between studio and seminar that semester were less technical and geared more towards the vague and imaginative; as the focus was on my own memories; assignments were usually free-range. For instance, here is an example of an assignment one would find in my Integrative Studio 1 and 2 classes:
Description from Studio 1: A sewn up “garbage bag” of bad memories.
Description from Studio 2: Part of a color-coded map with a key, of landscape data for planning gardens in South Los Angeles.
And, here are examples of what kind of assignments one would find in my Integrative Seminar 1 and 2 classes:
Description from Seminar 1: In this assignment we were merely asked to create a list of any event, place, object, etc; that we could remember.
Description from Seminar 2: To contrast, in this assignment; instead of using our free-flowing creativity, we were asked to narrow down with research of real-life situations. In this reading table, we focused on analyzing the possibility of infrastructure existing beyond the physical realm backed with research.
Summary: If I were to make a remark about what made my courses from both semesters more intriguing; I would say that the assignments that required me to jump away from my comfort zone and into writing and/or making territory that was initially foreign to me; was by far the most exciting, even better if the deadline was around the corner (although I seem to complain about those sorts of situations); they give me a sense of organization and drive that I do not think I could amass elsewhere… (especially given that this school is in the city) which adds to the pressure. Further research for my assignments might have been of aid when studying artifacts; such as seen in my Objects as History course, when the background knowledge of a culture; or time in society is useful in full understanding of the item on review. Obviously, as an emerging Fashion Design student, studio work and making gained more of my interest. However, I did not particularly enjoy what I would make except on certain occasion (such as in Drawing and Imaging).
Highlights from First-Year:
(Drawing and Imaging)
Process and Thoughts: Before approaching the final rendition of this cityscape, we started as a class by taking several photos of miniature cityscapes we created with wooden building blocks. Afterwards, we were asked to illustrate versions of these photos in various mediums. I chose: pen and ink, graphite, charcoal, and water-soluble pencils. When, we were told that we would be updating these on an Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator format, I knew I wanted my work to hint at the magical and mysterious; as a result I had to visit the Learning Center quite a few times.
Description: Although there were numerous incidents of work in this class that I was proud of; this assignment was by far the most impressive. I say this because, it was a duo of pieces that I created by hand on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. The theme was to create a cityscape of our own imagination- and there were many times when I frantically considered giving up on this. (Simply due to the fact, that I had little prior experience with the programs outside of the course). Which is why I see these pieces not only as a major achievement in digital rendering, but also an opportunity that truly challenged me and allowed for growth.
(Integrative Studio 1: Memory)
Process and Thoughts: In the beginning of this assignment, my professor requested that each of us create a small-scale memorial that could be placed somewhere in New York City. I decided to make one in memoriam of circus elephants that were paraded across the Brooklyn Bridge at a time when it was dangerous to do so. I started by conducting a site analysis, and took photos. I then made rough sketches (as shown) of how I wanted the memorial to look; and sought out supplies that I thought would be necessary to form the model. I ended up using plywood, dowels, wood glue, paint, and wire. The topic I chose was due to my current status as a vegan who cares about the well-being of all animals and the exposure of cruel acts committed against them through history.
Description: For this assignment, we were required to create a memorial that would be placed somewhere in New York City in miniature scale. I chose to form a memorial for the twenty-one circus elephants that crossed the Brooklyn Bridge in 1884 to prove its safety. With the help of woodworking and orthographic drawing skills I acquired in Space and Materiality; I was able to build (from scratch) a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge of which I drilled holes into, weaved wire and wire sculptures of elephants chained into captivity through the bridge. Since time was short; I also taught myself raster engraving and laser cutting in this class to achieve what was put forth in my initial sketches.
Conclusion: As I progress through my studies here at Parsons; I hope to expand my awareness on how I can better approach my designs through an ethical and sustainable lens. For instance, in my Objects as History class; one peer for their final presentation decided to document the silk industry; and although I already know much about it, I was once more appalled at the violent process. As a fashion design major; (who I assume will be not only using but studying about textiles), I wonder how I can manufacture such a luxurious textile as silk without causing death to the precious silkworms that produce it? Or how can I have my patterns drafted in a way that does not cause significant waste that will be transported to a landfill? Which as discussed in my Sustainable Systems class, only adds to: pollution, climate change, extinction of species, and a host of other problems. Perhaps a garment I am required to make next semester may inspire me to take my scrap material and forge a new fabric through weaving. I even noticed other students create leather out of kombucha this year. The skills and techniques I would need to master in order to pursue these ideas are: patience, determination, and further research. My investigative skills would need to be delved into full swing because, the industry of fashion has dilapidated so quickly as of now; that repair of even a fraction of it requires these traits.