Sunday, April 6, 2014

Novem Mason Symposium and Habitat for Humanity Volunteering

Last week our department held a symposium in honor of Novem Mason and Mary Miller, two former department chairs for the IARc program.

Prior to the symposium our class got together and divided into groups to help "decorate" or prepare the department for the shin-dig. I was placed into a group with Amy W. focusing on way finding from the elevators and stairs in the basement to the wood shop. We began the process for this design by doing some prep work which helped up both hash out the final design we ended up installing for the symposium.

After the prep work had been done and discussions between Amy and I were had about the final design, we began working on the final piece.

We chose to focus on the color purple due to a group discussion held within the entire class in which we agreed each floor should be assigned a specific color (The basement was given purple, which I had no problem with as its my favorite color). Using three shades of purple was used to add interest and dimension to the overall finished installation/design. (This was an agreement Amy and I came to as a group). From there, Hundreds of triangles were cut out of scrap wood found around the department and painted prior to installation day. Amy and I agreed that recycled wood was best because it played well the departments idea and love of sustainability and being green, which also incidentally was a theme Novem Mason pushed to be taught within classes in the department. 

On Thursday April 3rd, 2014 seminars were held throughout the day (from 9 am to 7pm) by a diverse group of individuals speaking about different aspects of the creation/design process one may or may not go through. I attended 4 seminars held in the morning hours with topics ranging from design failures, being green, technology and preservation in the design process.

During the first seminar, held by Tommy Lambeth, (also a former IARc department chair) we spoke about his own design failures and his process of learning from them on future pieces he made. During his presentation he showed the audience examples of pieces he felt were less than becoming and told us how he grew from them. The point being: don't be afraid to fail, its okay, don't stop working at it because you'll grow from it in the end.

During the second seminar, held by Beth McGee, we did a walk through of the IARc department library. We learned during her presentation that Novem Mason donated a great deal of the books currently available to students and staff for loan. We also learned a bit about the cataloging done within the library in order to organize books in their proper place. And lastly we talked about how the library is sustainable/green. This seminar was very informative personally as I learned a few tid bits about the library I hadn't previously known; for example: there is no sample room-it is integrated within the library and the sample pieces available can not be checked out, rather viewed and bought online on the manufactures website.

During the third seminar, held by Doug Leckie and Dickie Cox, we spoke the need for both handmade and computer fabricated design. We met within the Gallery on the first floor of the Gatewood building where we toured the pieces on display that used both handmade and computer fabricated pieces (CAM, CAD, Shapeways, etc.). Within this seminar the overall theme was stressed that both are needed to create a cohesive successful design.

During the fourth and last seminar attended, held by Jo Leinmenstoll, she spoke about the need and importance of preservation within design and communities. She showed examples of this with photos taken from her own classes she teaches during the summer and spring semesters. I felt this was a very interesting seminar because it taught me about courses offered within the department I was unaware of and hope to sign up for in the near future as I feel they would be very beneficial in preparation for a future within this field.

The next day students and staff from the department met together in front of the new CC-ED location on Lee Street in Greensboro for a speech given My Anna Marshall Baker (the current department chair), Tommy Lambeth and Travis Hicks about the new space and future hopes for the organization. A ribbon cutting followed, which I helped to cut (very exciting!) along with a brief tour of the space before everyone departed and headed to individual areas to volunteer our time for the day.
I headed over to a home being renovated by Habitat for Humanity to help in any way I could. While there I asked one of the men directing the site what qualified this specific home to be selected for renovation. He told me that it was once a home that belong to a veteran whom passed away. The condition of the home when he passed was less then ideal and went into foreclosure. Habitat for Humanity selected the home to be renovated so that the community value would be brought up and the home would be livable again. They place to re-sell the home once renovations are complete to a qualifying family.
While volunteering I helped rack up some backyard foliage then headed to the front of the house to fill in a ditch that was dug to put in some new plumbing pipelines. From there I headed indoors to staple down some plywood sub-flooring in the upstairs bathroom. After all those endeavors had been complete it was time to leave for the day. I felt volunteering was very rewarding and interesting. I love working with my hands/manual labor so I found the day to pass by quite fast while having lots of fun.

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