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Pulling on the Thread

Pulling on the Thread

RISD’s Alumni Association launches a new podcast exploring how creativity really works.​

illustration of a hand unraveling the RISD logo

How, exactly, did that building get its shape? Why, precisely, was that the right shade of pink to use in a still-life of flowers? What, specifically, prompted the use of that font for the body copy in a book? How, honestly, did that website idea turn into a profitable company?

Questions about the creative process might seem simple, but to anyone who works in art and design, the answers never are. A new podcast from the RISD Alumni Association—Pulling on the Thread—is built around the idea that even when there aren’t straight answers, there is always something for artists and designers to say about their own processes of creating something new.

Poly-mode founder and Otis College of Art and Design Assistant Professor Silas Munro 03 GD (top image) and University of North Carolina Creative Director Brian Johnson 05 GD will discuss their creative practices.

Pulling on the Thread will launch with two episodes on March 29. Hosted by Lois Harada 10 PR, each episode will feature a conversation with a member of the RISD Alumni Association. “The long-form interview format of a podcast gives people time to really talk about how they work,” Harada says. “Focusing on one project gives us a great starting point, and it gives people a glimpse into how complicated the creative process can be.”

“Focusing on one project gives us a great starting point, and it gives people a glimpse into how complicated the creative process can be.”SERIES HOST LOIS HARADA 10 PR

Each approximately 30-minute episode of Pulling on the Thread will feature Harada and a fellow RISD graduate in discussion around a specific body of work, entrepreneurial idea or creative pursuit. Guests for the inaugural series will include Roz Chast 77 PT, Jill Greenberg 89 PH, Angela Guzman 06 ID/MFA 09 GD, Rose B. Simpson MFA 11 CR, Silas Munro 03 GD and Brian Johnson 05 GD.

Harada records found sounds in downtown Providence.

Harada, an artist and printmaker based in Providence, was approached to produce the new podcast last fall by RISD’s outgoing Executive Director of Alumni & Family Relations Chris Hartley 74 IL/P 09. “Lois did such a wonderful job hosting our live video tours of the Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab and RISD Co-Works during RISD Weekend 2020 that I wanted to find a way to keep her on the team,” says Hartley. “She knows the campus and the people, and she’s just got great energy.”

Another scheduled guest, mixed-media artist Rose B. Simpson MFA 11 CR lives and works from her home at Santa Clara Pueblo, NM.

Launching a podcast during a pandemic, Harada says, has both upsides and down. “People are pretty easy to reach, but in-person interviews and studio visits are out,” she says. “We’ve had to be creative to get the right audio quality. It’s also pretty challenging to convey details about an object or work of art when you’re only working in audio,” she notes. “But those challenges make the project interesting.”

Listen to the Season 1 trailer and learn more about Pulling on the Thread by visiting the Alumni Association website and check back every Monday for new episodes.

Chad Galts

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