These past couple of weeks, students from the 2-D design and creative writing courses have been collaborating on a project to bring their art to life.
What started as an idea a couple years ago has turned into semesters of collaborations between the two classes. This time, Laura Stevenson, assistant professor of Art, approached Daniel Bowman, associate professor of English, proposing a new kind of teamwork.
“The idea being that my students would then visually respond to either a line, stanza, section or the piece of writing entirely.” Stevenson shared.
This then turned into a collaborative effort for future semesters where students from both classes would be turning either a poem into visual artwork or a design into a written piece.
This semester, creative writing students would send in some rough drafts of their short stories to Stevenson, allowing her to randomly assign these to her own 2-D students.
“When she proposed it to me, I loved it—there’s so much energy in asking visual artists and creative writers to reflect on and respond to each other’s work,” Bowman said.
The students began working right away, and what came from the 2-D class was a series of relief prints. Relief printing, Stevenson said, is a process of cutting away a block until all that is left is the intended printed design.
Throughout this week, these designs made by the 2-D Design students will be on display through the main floor of the art building.
“There's obviously a long history, especially in children's books, of having a whole story or part of a story illustrated,” Bowman shared. “This way, you're combining the elements of storytelling—character, plot, setting, etc.—with the elements of visual art—color, tone, line, shape, texture, etc.—for something greater than the sum of its parts.”
Through this collaboration, students from both classes were able to be a part of that history and create something beautiful.
This also allows students to interact with different forms of art they might not expose themselves to otherwise, using new tools and ideas.
“It’s always exciting to see creativity at Taylor celebrated through the lens of collaboration.” Stevenson said.
A piece of work can be completely changed when accompanied with something visual. Through this teamwork, both students are allowing the other to take what they have created and add their own creativity to it.
With COVID-19, the students of the 2-D Design course have been especially creative this semester.
Earlier this semester, these design students used relief blocks, similar to this collaborative project, to make a print on disposable masks.
These were sold in the Boren Center and 100% of the proceeds collected were donated to the Grant County Emergency Management Agency, helping provide equipment to combat COVID-19.
Bowman has seen COVID-19 affect his creative writing classroom as well.
“It’s especially important to build trust in an artistic setting, because we’re allowing ourselves to become more vulnerable as writers, taking risks to improve and do good work,” Bowman said. “We need a safe space and a supportive community.”
These two professors are actively working to create that safe and supportive community for their students, showing and guiding them in how to use the gifts that Christ has given them.