Innovative Work in National Spotlight

Innovative Work in National Spotlight

Jewelry + Metalsmithing and Furniture Design students were among more than 700 professional artists invited to exhibit their work at the 2010 American Craft Council Show, which attracts buyers from throughout the world. Students designed and created beautifully crafted products for the School-to-Market area of the show in Baltimore. Aimed at helping selected college students learn more about marketing their work, School-to-Market provides an exceptional opportunity to gain experience in trade show presentation and interacting with buyers and the general public.

In two studio courses taught by Assistant Professor of Furniture Design Lothar Windels RISD BID 96 and Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewelry + Metalsmithing Lola Brooks, student designers drew inspiration from structures and systems in nature. In-depth investigation of the way plants and animals grow and function helped reveal the underlying principles that enable natural structures and systems to perform specific functions so successfully. By abstracting these principles, students in each department were able to apply them to creating innovative furniture, jewelry and other products that are as efficient and elegant as nature itself.

Students kicked off the semester with a visit to RISD’s Nature Lab, a unique RISD resource that offers hands-on access to more than 80,000 specimens, including shells, feathers, seedpods, skeletons, insects, plants and live and preserved mammals. “Formal explorations inspired by the beauty of nature were valid, but were not the focus of these courses,” Windels explains. “The key was nonlinear investigation – students could either start by identifying a product with a specific function and look to lessons from nature that are applicable, or observe how nature solves a specific functional problem and work from there to design their own piece or product.”

related links:

Rhode Island School of Design | 2010 American Craft Council Show

Lothar Windels

Lola Brooks

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