By RENNIE COOK and BARBARA KOLB
As CREO on May 11 draws near, senior students in the fashion, fine arts, graphic design and interior design departments at Mount Mary College are logging late night, early morning and extra weekend hours. They are all in their respective labs putting the final touches of perfection on the projects they will be displaying at the show.
For most of these students, preparation for CREO actually began on the first day of spring semester requiring additional time, energy and money to develop a cohesive demonstration of their best work. Much of their activity has been happening behind the scenes, unnoticed by students on campus until now.
Sophomore Katelyn Malkow, fashion and apparel product development major, is excited to be participating in the fashion show during CREO. She has put her passion into her work to create beauty in new and different ways. Malkow described the piece she will be presenting during CREO as “a very distinct style. It’s very edgy. It’s sexy and glamorous and makes a statement.”
Making a statement requires added investments in both cash and time. Although her monetary investment is only around $100 so far, her time spent putting together a final product has been considerable. Choosing her design, creating patterns, cutting, sewing and fitting, and planning what accessories will best complement her sleek and edgy creation has kept her working into the wee hours of the morning numerous times. She has spent “hours upon hours and [is] still going … an entire semester.”
After putting in so much time and energy, Malkow said that the combining of the Mount Mary College art division shows will be an advantage for all participants not just for fashion majors. She said that there will be a greater chance that a variety of potential employers from various industries will attend CREO. “People may come to see the fine art and not realize there is a fashion show.”
With the show taking place off-campus, Malkow says she is more than willing to put in the extra time and invest a little more money into her final design.
“I feel like we have more exposure,” she said. Betsy Johnson, Balmain and Lady Gaga are just a few people whom Malkow wistfully imagines seeing her work at the show.
The fashion show is only the beginning for Malkow. Smaller classes and the superior fashion training she said she is receiving at Mount Mary allows Malkow to look forward to her future with hopes of studying in Paris in December through the Study Abroad program. She eventually hopes her chosen career will take her to a bigger city like New York.
“I have always known that I was going to be in fashion! It’s one of the few things I find very fulfilling.”
Lynnea Schliesleder, an art education post bac student, plans on submitting a total of four pieces for the fine arts division of CREO. “Being in the show is important to me … it drives a level of professional presentation that may not always occur.”
Professionalism is important to Schliesleder. As she looks forward towards her last required class, which she plans on taking as a summer course, she sees her future as an up-and-coming educator with new light.
“My belief is that as an art teacher, I want to be the best artist I can possibly be … and that takes work! Working at creating art,” she said.
Schliesleder has definitely been working on putting together three of her pieces that are specifically designed to meet the fine arts theme of evoking locality. Each piece represents one of her three homelands.
“Each place is dear to my heart and full of memories: Malawi as a little girl, Zambia as a teenager and Wisconsin as a college student,” she said.
She loves taking inspiration from the nature around her and says that her “backyard is a wealth of subject matter.”
Like her pieces with their array of media from paint and oil pastels to pencils and collaged paper, Schliesleder sees the CREO event as a marriage of the Mount Mary art departments. She said that art, in general, is a community driven field. The joining of fashion, graphic design, interior design and fine arts can give participants a broader perspective in the art field, but also appeals to a wider audience, giving everyone the chance to be viewed by a variety of potential future employers.
“We do all start together…in Color Theory and 2-D Design. Why not end together?”
Helle La Plant, senior graphic design student, views CREO as more than just an opportunity to show her work to family and friends.
“You want to present yourself the best way because you’re thinking about real life. There’s gonna be not just friends. You have to put your best foot forward [because] there’s gonna be the professionals looking at [your work].”
La Plant began preparing for CREO by considering the overall impact of the display she was assembling. She wanted cohesiveness between all facets: her work, her personal branding, the physicality of her display and her personal appearance. Once she had the basic framework in place, La Plant was able to concentrate on deciding which pieces from her portfolio she would exhibit.
“You have to figure out what’s important here. How much should I revise? How much should I leave as is? How much should I correct? And then of course, with photography, you can keep playing with that stuff for ever and ever,” La Plant said. “It’s a big process.”
It’s also an expensive process. She estimates the purchase of frames, mounting board, printing of items too large for the department’s printer, specialty printing of two photo books, as well as a new suit and shoes will cost her $1,000.
It’s hard for La Plant to estimate the time she has invested to assemble her exhibition. “I’m overwhelmed by how much there is to do — the printing and the mounting.”
Will the time, energy and money she has sunk into preparation for the show be worth it? La Plant feels it will be.
With graduation shining brightly on her horizon, La Plant is also occupied with finding a job. She hopes that CREO will be an effective weapon in her job hunt arsenal.
“I want to take this opportunity to present my skills the best way I can. I am hoping some professional will see my work and want to talk to me,” La Plant said.
During CREO, La Plant will showcase, among other things, her Irish Fest poster, her branding of Mount Mary College’s Multicultural Fair and her photography.
As she enters the final days counting down to the show, she is confident that she will be prepared.
“I’ve had a lot of fun getting ready for CREO. I know I will pull it together. I may have some sleepless nights!”
Kendall Duel, senior interior design student, anticipates CREO being an opportunity for her to grab the attention of industry professionals.
“I hope they come in and see what our capabilities are as the whole interior design class. Some of the work I have seen there is just incredibly amazing,” Duel said. “[CREO will help by] just getting the word out to professionals [that] I’m a creative person and this is what I can do.”
She speaks of her preparation for CREO as the culmination of class work that included problem solving, space planning, creative thinking and rendering.
“It involves my whole school project, so long nights, weekends, early mornings,” Duel said. “All of us interior design majors are overachievers and we want to see our work be perfect. So I know all of us take that extra effort and time to make that happen.”
Although she is putting in long hours finishing her designs, Duel does not feel CREO claims additional time. The development of her work requires hours she automatically puts in to perfect her class assignments. Those up-to-date assignments fill her needs for both an attractive display at CREO and a job-securing portfolio she will present at interviews.
The process Duel goes through to create the finalized board she will exhibit at CREO involves many steps.
“Obviously, start in AutoCAD to space plan everything out,” she said. “Then pop up some of the lines and import it into SketchUp and fully render it on there. Then go over it to give it [my] own personal touches and render it so it looks like [my] work rather than just something computer-generated.”
One piece that Duel is working on is called Public Market Space. This large project is a collaboration of students who develop individual sections of the building while maintaining a cohesive theme and design.
Her finished presentation will allow CREO attendees to visually see the space through 3D sketching and rendering and will enhance their understanding by offering the opportunity to touch and feel the materials and finishes she has selected.
Duel is excited to be a part of CREO’s inaugural off-campus event.
“Maybe somebody has a job coming in and they’re looking for an individual, like one of us here, and who knows what can happen.”