Running with Scissors – curious arts

Bachelor of Design 2015 graduate show

Fearless exploration of design is a running theme in Running with Scissors.

Everyone appreciates good design in their life. Whether it is that comfortable and stylish piece of furniture that makes your house a home, or the well thought-out wayfinding in a large building that helps you find the room you are looking for. The Bachelor of Design 2015 graduate show is your chance to see the work of the next generation of designers primed to make an impact in your daily life.

I’m always struck by the skill and ingenuity displayed at these annual grad shows. The University of Alberta’s Department of Art & Design encourages critical thinking and problem-solving at a high-level, and it is clear that these students are fearless in their explorations.

As this year’s grad show titled Running With Scissors, it isn’t surprising that fearlessness and exploration came up as recurring themes as I spoke with several of the graduates. Lydia Stewart, Anne Brown and Trevor Debolt took the time to show me around their show now in the FAB Gallery until April 11.

Bio Couture (Dress) by Lydia Stewart and Anna Campbell

Q: What is something you learned in the program that you will take forward in your career?

Lydia: To not be scared. I think they try to instill that in us – don’t fear failure. Just do it, try it and if it doesn’t work out move on quickly, take what you can from it as a learning experience and try something different. Like with the Bio Couture project – first we wanted to grow a dress out of moss cultures and use it as sort of a hybrid textile that one could water to rejuvenate and then store, because moss never dies. Our time period for working on it wasn’t long enough for the growing process. So we had to rework the idea, find materials, problem-solve. We asked ourselves: what else can we work with, what else can we do in the time period we have? We came up with this. So I think that having that flexibility and not being afraid definitely helped.

Trevor: Just the ability to reach out and learn from whatever you are interested in. I mean I’ve fallen in love with furniture design but there are some people in industrial design who have done medical design, there are some that have done public art projects, things like that. Design is sort of an everyman thing. It kind of presents itself in whatever way you see fit. A lot of it is about creative problem solving and applying that line of thinking to whatever it is you enjoy doing.

Q: What advice would you give to future design students?

Anna: I would tell them to get involved in everything. It’s not just about school, it’s about what you take from it and what you do outside the school. Get  involved in student groups. I was part of the student design association – involved in the grad committee. Finding jobs, finding experiences outside of class, that is what really made my whole university experience worthwhile and it’s up to you to do that.

Q: What is something you are proud about?

Trevor: I think the big one and I think a lot of the other product designers that do a lot of furniture design as well – it is learning different craftsmanship. Not everyone comes into the program with any sort of background in carpentry or building knowledge. So to explore and figure out the best ways to put two pieces of wood together or find a way to make it look good. That was a really big one on this project for me.

Contrast Table Set by Trevor Debolt

Q: Do you feel like you can tackle more?

Trevor: I think so. I think I can tackle a bit more and I think that the professors in the program really set us up for success. if you don’t know what to do when you start a project it is really about research and looking into things to find a starting point to move forward from.

From there it can go in so many directions.

Mag-board (Magnet Board) by Kaiqiao chen
Magpie Festival Branding Materials by Rachel Denholm
Hypotrochroid Pendant (Light) by Amanda Nogier
Hypotrochroid Pendant (Light) by Amanda Nogier. Featuring in Running with Scissor, 2015 U of A Bachelor of Design show.

How To Tie A Bow Tie Instruction Book by Sophie Maisonneuve
Grassy Ottoman by Amanda Nogier
Popple Side Table by Carson Tarnasky. Chaos Pendant Light by Brendan Molloy.

Event title: Running with Scissors: University of Alberta Bachelor of Design Graduate Show 2015
Exhibition dates: until April 11, 2015
Venue: FAB Gallery (1-1 Fine Arts Building, University of Alberta)
FAB Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday and statutory holidays
Admission: Free.
More info: and

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