Hello Again, Marginalia Readers!

I’m so thrilled to be starting my second year as a Graduate Ambassador and my final year in the Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts MFA program.

So, introducing – I received my undergraduate degree from Memphis College of Art with a concentration in Book Arts and Papermaking. After taking a couple of years off, working in a used bookstore, I decided it was time to return to school and continue to pursue the book and paper arts at the graduate level.

My experience at Columbia College Chicago has been a fantastic one. From the beginning, and continuing now, graduate school has been excellently rigorous. The first year, though still very artistically productive, was a year of gaining technical experience and adjusting to a new environment and getting to know my classmates. However, I also had the opportunity that year to work in the paper studio under the supervision of professor Melissa Potter with Venezuelan Yanomami artist Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe. For that project, we editioned a series of paper pieces entirely conceptualized by Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe that were reflective of his life in the Venezuelan Amazon. I also had the opportunity to work collaboratively with my classmates, professor Clifton Meador, and the Poetry Foundation to create an editioned artist book containing work by poet Aram Saroyan. That year was a great introduction to the program, not only in terms of what I could produce in the studio, but also in terms of what I would have the opportunity to do in the larger art community during my three years of study.

During my second year, the ball really got to rolling. I served as an officer in our student organization Pulp, Ink, and Thread, working with my fellow classmates to raise money to attend conferences, maintain exhibitions in the student run gallery space The Galley, and generate a sense of community within our own department. I also had the great opportunity to teach an undergraduate papermaking course at Columbia, which was wonderful (and I’m looking forward to a second semester teaching this fall) and such great work experience.  I attended three conferences: Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum Wayzgoose, College Book Arts Association Conference, and the American Printing History Association Conference. And oh yeah…the art making part…

Your second year is when you really start being able to take control of your schedule. Through independent studies and classes like Directed Graduate Projects (in which you work independently for a semester, checking in with your professor every two weeks individually) I was really given the chance to thoroughly explore my line of inquiry, building a substantial body of work.

And all of that lead into thesis year! I really am so thrilled to be starting my third year. Like I said, I’ll be teaching again, but also working with professor Clifton Meador on a grant he received from the National Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. We’ll be working with two Canadian artists exploring the possibilities of collaboration and exchange of cultural and artistic ideas. And I can’t wait to begin work on my thesis. I’ve spent the summer reading reading reading and sketching sketching sketching. I’m so looking forward to diving back into the rhythms of the school year by just producing as much as I possibly can.

Finally, I am really so glad to have the opportunity to be Graduate Ambassador again and to be sharing my last year as a graduate student with you all! See you in the fall!