Student exhibit displays creative design

by Fabiana Torreao

When she started on the University’s sailing team, Lyndsie Hakala, a clothing design senior, realized she could not find many places selling women’s sailing clothes.
She merged her major with her hobby, spending a year researching and designing female sailor’s clothing.
What became her senior project involved a seven-week trip to England to study sailor’s clothes. When Hakala returned, she knitted a sweater based on her research: A high, reflective collar to block the wind and reflect light in case the sailor fell overboard, a front pouch that doubled as a hand-warmer and pocket, and made of wool to keep the sailor warm even when wet.
Hakala’s sweater is part of the Design, Housing and Apparel Department’s senior show exhibit at the Goldstein Gallery on the St. Paul campus.
“I’m really pleased to see how clothing design is represented (in the exhibit),” Hakala said. “You work so hard to have your work displayed.”
The exhibit includes the work of 35 graduating students in graphic, interior and clothing design. Organizers expect more than 2,000 people to see the three-week exhibit. The Design, Housing and Apparel Department has about 450 undergraduate students and 50 graduate students.
“It brings in the design community and promotes the department itself,” said James Boyd-Brent, a lecturer from the department and the event organizer. “It shows off the work made here.”
Although the focus of the exhibit is graphic design — 23 graphic design students are presenting their work versus nine clothing design and only three interior design students — it also presents a wide variety of work.
For example, Kristen Hanson pounded 15 soda cans into flattened sheets that she then bound with a spiral spine for her book-making class — she could only use recyclable materials.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to work and how it was going to turn out,” Hanson said. “But it turned out pretty good.”
Graphic design students used class assignments to create self-promoting brochures, such as Christine Johnson, who advertised her nature photography services as a class project.
A popular part was the exhibition of final projects by students in a packaging class. Students had to create a concept centered around at least five items contained in a box and design the items’ outer package and labels.
One was the “Toolbox for the common cold,” filled with facial tissue, ibuprofen and even a deck of cards. Another was “Operation Happy Hour,” which consisted of a bottle of gin, olives, swizzle sticks, martini glasses and other happy hour items in a briefcase. None of the items carried brand names; each had original designs.
Creativity, dedication and ability to cope with stress are what makes a designer, said most participants.
“And you need to have a passion, you need to love what you’re doing,” said Amanda Streit, one of the students in the exhibit.
That passion translates into a common joke among designers, that even away from work, they find themselves automatically analyzing font types on billboards and spaces between letters in newspaper headlines, said Steve O’Brien, another exhibit participant.
The senior show exhibit will continue until May 14.

Fabiana Torreao covers St. Paul campus and welcomes comments at [email protected].