In Fall, 2005 I received a Faculty Development Grant in support of a website I created as part of a major career shift. This website allowed me to clarify, for myself and to the art and design communities, a unique place my work could occupy between and within both realms aesthetically, critically, and professionally.
I would have never dreamed that beginning a foray into web design would provide the impetus to become a computer literacy convert. Since putting together the opening images for the site I have, as a direct result, begun to see how the computer can help me not only with my design practice, but also with my teaching.
This initiation first provided courage to start using O-Space as a fundamental teaching aid. I next brought my newfound digital skills into my Foundation Creative Practices and Responses classes. Teaching first year students to design a pattern using Adobe Illustrator allowed their original patterns to manifest three-dimensionally using the 3-D "printer," or laser cutter technology. This project supports student learning on many levels: students are able to make more complex and/or interesting works with the aid of Illustrator, and the introductory experience interfacing with the technicians in the wood shop helps them prepare for later work in the major programs.
Developing the website, and the Foundation computer project has also provided me the unique opportunity to stretch my own skills, alongside my students. Presently I am co-designing with Graduate Teaching Assistant, Kristen Foster, a case-study Illustrator project for two Foundation Drawing and Composition sections. In this project each student will design a still-life using a combination of hand-drawn and computer-generated and manipulated images. We are most interested in exploring with students the possibilities afforded by the ability to make quick design revisions, to exploit the software functions of layering, shifts of scale, and hierarchy. The outcomes of this project will be exhibited as photographs in a small exhibition during the Spring 2009 term. If successful, this new project may contribute to the Foundation Program's current curricular focus on introducing new technologies to first-year students.
The challenges and opportunities this project have provided have propelled me—a hands-on, sculpture-trained artist and designer—into the digital age. The website continues to grow, and may grow indefinitely. Current work on the site includes uploading new images from my diverse professional practice, as well as images of my students' work, using a blog. I see this site becoming a great crossover vehicle for a myriad of distinct and shared faculty/student images, ideas, and concerns related to our field. The Faculty Development Committee's confidence in me as a crossover artist/designer, and in the merits of my proposal, are very much appreciated.
Please view the website I created at http://www.lindahudsonstudio.com