Over the course of the past 7 weeks I’ve had the amazing ability to design, build, and create as I pleased.
Well… to an extent, because this was a controlled freedom of creation, freedom with direction. The occasion for this you might ask?
Senior THESIS of course!


Using the basic principles of graphic design, such as a the use of a grid, white space, and typography, when applied to various mediums, can achieve and maintain a cohesive and successful design all while translating the same level of readability and proof of concept.

Although this quest for design had a concept, it now needed structure.
This was when I went ruminated on all of the possible structures, mediums, and design approaches I had ever attempted while in the course of completing my credit requirements for graduation. Of all of the potential, non-graphic design related classes, I had truly come to enjoy a handful to the point of pursuing the craft outside of CCS.

These were:
Bookarts and Papercraft: Let me tell you, I went all out to make a book or paper model
Fiber Techniques and Embellishment: Initially a copout turned hobby
Model Making: I never considered carving the highlight of my skill set, but I truly enjoy working with both wood and design foam
Lithography: But I already used this technique for my previous project… which more or less killed the pursuit of this medium for this project
Silkscreen: Already had previous experience, but still enjoy the heck out of the process

Because litho was out of the question, and I only had 6 weeks to produce now, that meant I had to narrow the list down.
Based on the fact that silkscreen was the only printed medium and didn’t have any dimension to it, it was a pretty easy choice 🙂


Wood working

Well…I started out with stating I would design with the principles of graphic design in mind, but what were those again?


FIRST AND FOREMOST: The relationship between text and image



Type/ Medium

Now that I had the basis of my thesis in store, I needed to set some goals/ restrictions for myself. Especially since I have the tendency, more often than not, of biting off more than I can chew.


Reduction of color options: I often want ALL the colors… it’s a problem
Utilizes a tactile medium: (aka) hiatus from the digital/ laptop in general
Repurposing the medium and give it new importance: Which means whatever I made had to have a point

I then proceeded to “waste” the next week and a half trying to come up with the best message for this solid sense of execution.
It was more frustrating than I care to say. I had bought the wood, the paper, the material, just about everything and yet, I had nothing to apply it too.
I avidly spent my time collecting imagery and pinteresting inspiration. In the process… I discovered that the best way to translate meaning across three different mediums would potentially be in poster format. I could even argue to say that it would make the presentation for all three easy as well.

Quill, sewn and wood

When researching what had been done in the mediums prior to now, I discovered my best output would be in poster format… a great standard of size and method of displaying all three mediums

Pinteresting no?

I thought about the mediums I was attempting to use, how did they speak? How would they translate? Whatever the message was, I couldn’t help but relate it to the fact that, it wasn’t what I said, it would be how I said it. Phrases were too long… I looked at quotes… tons of quotes…

“Design is the search for a magical balance between business and art; art and craft; intuition and reason; concept and detail; playfulness and formality; client and designer; designer and printer; and printer and public.”

— Valerie Pettis


“Practice safe design: Use a concept.”

— Petrula Vrontikis

Easier said than done Petrula… easier said than done.

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A few sketches and notes for ya
But in the end…yeah… phrases would take too long to generate in my respective mediums and wouldn’t change with meaning between all three mediums either :\ Frustrating.

It was brought to my attention that I should study the mediums in order to get a better feel of exactly who of what I was designing for. The wood was a more masculine material while the fabric more feminine. Quilling had it’s place ,as long as it also had a context. When pursuing this possible beacon of hope, I was led to phrases that would be reminiscent of each of the mediums as well as bite it’s finger at the sexes associated with it.


Wood=manly=rough=detail=natural growth
Fabric=feminine=soft= detail= time spent

This led to the following example of language.

Wood: If a tree falls…/

But the possibility of using less text led me to try:

Wood: Hear no evil (playing off the tree in the forest)
Quilling: See no evil (so much detail wouldn’t allow you to look for mistakes)
Fabric: Speak no evil (those silly, gossipy females)

It seemed like it would work.. it had to right? But what was it translating?
Short of a separate message, I felt it would get further and further from my concept and thesis as a whole.

I made a schedule to potentially motivate my brain to think of something faster… I figured the added pressure would help

March 22-25 Get materials, Finalize ideas and begin on Poster One
March 26-31 Begin from (at least ) 1/2 way point, Poster One and complete it
April 1-8 Start to finish second poster… Get materials
April 9-15 Start on third piece… Get materials too!
April 16-22 Finish up any pieces (mainly staining and gluing)

However…by the time I was supposed to be half way through the first poster…. still nothing. I was advised to just jump in. I figured I knew the mediums of wood and fabric well enough that creating anything would be quick… Quilling on the other hand I had NEVER attempted… and figured it would take me the longest to complete (going off of a classmates experiences).
What can I say… I DOVE IN!

 Because I had to cut the strips of paper by hand it took forever… I quickly proceeded with buying a paper slicer asap… ( I was able to cut 1500 strips in less than an hour)

The experience of quilling so much wasn’t that bad! And not as time-consuming as my classmate had warned about. The glue took the longest of the process to dry but after I found the most magical glue system of application (pva glue pen) my life was set! Not only could you glue and it would dry quickly, but if you made a mistake, you could re-edit your work and reposition the paper. This was immensely helpful when I would work on it outside of home. Start quilling on a piece of paper, go home, peel off and then finalize the position.
There was just NO way I could do a phrase now for sure. One letter was very tedious and time-consuming… A word? Now THAT I could work with!

In a quick ‘come to Jesus’ style meeting with my class over what word to choose, I was left with one of a couple of options:

DAMN! (in response to the issues of concepting the thesis)

Any other word that could translate three times, three ways (there, their, they’re)

Once I had spent an hour or so looking up synonyms for potential words, Create kept coming up. Didn’t matter the word I was looking up, Create was a synonym.
It was fate and chance telling me this was the word to use, I wasn’t going to argue with only three weeks to produce three “posters”

Once again… I DOVE IN!

Starting off, I went after that special typeface that would represent the piece. It was a tough call… go with a complete serif? Sans Serif? Transitional? Slab?
Well… I wanted to make the process easy, but not easy enough to get away with using a sans serif and slab would require a lot of space to account for.

Janson may have won over the other three, but it was due to it structured nature… strait/curved angles and just enough attitude to translate ‘create’

Initially I purchased MANY colors to create this poster with, but knowing my weakness for color I only limited myself to the already open pack of cardstock from the test quills before. It was a numbing experience when I was limited, but I feel the poster was much more successful as a result.

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All in the first day’s work. To be honest… The design wasn’t planned at all! >___<
I know that’s terrible. But chance really played a role in this piece, which I feel helped make it relatively successful. One drawback that I had a part in was my innate ability to fill in space… as you can see as the poster begins to fill in, the right side really starts to get compacted with quilling.

Up until the completion of the piece (52 total hours spent) check out the gallery of images here …. too many process images= external gallery time!

Holy crap! Can cardstock give you a LOT of paper cuts!!!! 

Final Quilled piece

Next, it was time for wood!
Working with both poplar and Baltic birch ( the nicer stuff not quite plywood ^^; )

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Sadly enough… the wood poster took the longest to complete and was disappointingly cut short about an inch in all directions… thus needing a frame to be added

It’s a good thing I planned for that ;D
But after layers of sawdust and sanded shavings, things turned out all right! I limited the stains to three, the natural wood and a light gloss… keeping with the same number of color options as the quilled piece. I was slightly bummed about the alignment of the diagonal bars,however

I’ve lived and learned and I love what I did.

 This poster took me about 70 hours due to the sanding, staining and assembling.


Sure it took me no time to cut and assemble… sand and stain? Should of thought of that!

 Lastly, and most quick of all… Fabric!

Because both quilling and woodworking were at two opposite ends of the spectrum as far as work, design and material flexibility went, I took the opportunity of the third poster to bridge the gap between the two.
The quilled poster played upon the idea of dimensionality and shadow in order to get its display factor. The wood poster played off of the material, grain, stain and thickness. The fabric one would have to have a level of dimensionality, similar to the previous two, and still carry across the principles of design standardized by the first two. The quilled had intense swash and swirl, the wood was, in a sense, an extreme simplification of that… abstractly so too. The fabric would have to somehow have to bridge the gap between the two.

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Unlike the quilled poster… I did plan out this poster… just a little bit anyways. Once I started sewing… I really took off! I kept adding more and more and more. Almost unconsciously so, which was surprising and scary. :\
In order to get the dimensionality I needed in the ‘create’ I randomly decided upon stuffing the letters. Let me tell you, it may have seemed like a good idea at the time, however, that took forever and made sewing small details and stuffing an impossible challenge.
A prime example of this can be seen in this set. The ‘R’ had to be redone!!!

I couldn’t sit idly by with some janky ‘r’ on my hands!

Needless to say, it was remedied and looked so much better for it in the end.


Sewing for 28 straight hours, after not sewing in months, will bruise the heck out of your fingers!!!

When all was said and done… my right index finger looked more like I had been painting than sewing. And it was incredibly sore!

Took me only 40 hours to complete, but here’s the final piece!

I have to say the whole process was truly rewarding and I feel successful. In regards to the move away from the digital,

I’ve learned that digital is safe. Very safe.

No fingers will be constantly stabbed with needles, mercilessly cut up with paper or threatened with power tools. Eyes won’t be strained because of constant staring at neon colors, being in close proximity with the material or be endangered because of the byproducts. And there is truly very little to inhale from a laptop that could affect you mentally.

When it comes to the sense of what college has taught me, it really was all about creating. Regardless of materials, restrictions, limits, concept, executions, JUST CREATE!

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Just create create create!