How can a community activate desolate city blocks, turning them into a well-lit, safe and friendly city-wide destination? Designed specifically for its namesake Baltimore neighborhood, Old Goucher Lights can be easily made by community members with readily available materials, an online tutorial and off-the-grid electricity. As a grouping, the lights provide placemaking for a neighborhood, create a friendly atmosphere and bring attention to the issue of a lack of sidewalk lighting in the neighborhood. Drape them on structures in public places — on a gate, on a street sign, in trees. When used individually, they provide portable light, visibility and safety. (2016)
A textiles and product design firm, founded and solely operated by myself, that features hand painted and hand screen printed textiles sold as yardage and soft goods to the design trade
Yardage has been sold through sales reps, stores and showrooms nationally. The product line expanded to include small furniture, personal accessories and house wares when I began selling at trade shows.
As much of the design process as possible is done by hand, with a brush and India ink. For some patterns, applying the patterns to the fabric involves hand painting the yardage. Other patterns are hand screen printed, creating a more graphic appeal. When Radica first began, all the yardage was printed in my Baltimore studio. Eventually I outgrew the ability to keep up with the demand and partnered with a New England company who has over 75 years experience screen printing on textiles.
The J Van Story Branch Apartments is a Baltimore public housing high rise building in my neighborhood that is home to 600 residents, most of whom are over 60 years old. After noticing that many residents socialize in several adjacent abandoned parking lots, using one small tree for shade and milk crates for seating, I began interviewing residents about how a more enticing and safe recreation area could be created. I enrolled in a course on human centered design taught by the firm IDEO and formally proposed the idea as a class project. Through extensive interviews with the residents and community experts, our class group learned that residents report that high walls aroun≠d the building’s common outdoor space and strict management policies foster a sense of isolation.
The final result includes a proposal submitted to the city based on residents’ requests forseating, solar lights for security at night, game tables, and a trellis for shade and greenery. The trellis is created as a giant loom, with woven dyed rope providing shade and the armature for the plants. Permeable pavers mimic the twill pattern of the woven rope. Because the city owns the property and has long term plans to develop it, the proposal was designed to used as a transportable parklet at a later time. In the interim, programming such as outdoor movie screenings and exercise classes were implemented to encourage a sense of community. (2015)
Made in Baltimore
The Made in Baltimore pop up shop was created as an initiative of the Industrial Arts Collective to promote design and manufacturing in Baltimore, a city that does not have in place a significant structural support system for design. In addition to being a store, the project also acted as a showroom and programming space to introduce our 75 Baltimore design manufacturers to area architecture firms, interior design firms and institutional buyers to promote large scale local purchasing. Many vendors elected to volunteer shifts in the store or help assemble store displays, solidifying a sense of community and promoting collaborations. A Made in Baltimore logo was created for any Baltimore manufacturer’s use to help educate consumers about local manufacturing.
In addition to a storefront, the project also acted as a showroom and programming space to introduce our 75 Baltimore design manufacturers to area architecture firms, interior design firms and institutional buyers to promote large scale local purchasing. Many vendors elected to volunteer shifts in the store or help assemble store displays, solidifying a sense of community and promoting collaborations. A Made in Baltimore logo was created for any Baltimore manufacturer’s use to help educate consumers about local manufacturing. Over 21 days, the store netted $20,000 in vendor profits, 2,200 visitors, numerous contracted projects initiated by store visitors and approximately 110 supported jobs. We are now establishing a showroom for furniture designers, are working on a marketing campaign to further promote our members and are meeting with politicians to discuss public policy. (2015)
A suite of six hand illustrated mix-and-match patterns were created as an educational tool for the class Repeat Printing on Textiles, co-taught by myself and Baltimore Print Studios. Students were asked to print two repeat patterns on fabric yardage to learn printing techniques, registration and overlapping colors. (2015)
Music and Pattern
When making patterns, I often think in terms of music: rhythm, melody, drone, percussion. To further that theme, I began an experiment to visually capture musical patterns. An exquisite corpse of sorts, a pattern was made of a particular song and then passed on to musician to use as the basis or “score” of a new song. Their new song then became fodder for a new pattern of mine. (2015)
Home & Beast
A year-long exhibition that I co-curated at the American Visionary Art Museum, the national museum for outsider art, of over 200 artworks that explored animals in mythology, as muse, food and as domestic companions. (2006–2007)
Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya is a school in an extremely remote area of India near the Gulf of Kutch whose mission is to promote education among the nomadic camel-herding tribes people of the area. As the residents of the region have a strong history as artisans of traditional textile-based crafts, the school teaches skills through the lens of helping the students create craft-based businesses. In 2008, I taught a two week course to female students on color sourcing in nature, a subject the students already had a strong intuitive knowledge of, but lacked confidence of their skills and the vocabulary with which to discuss it.(2008)