South Table Mountain& Breckenridge& Camp Hale, Oh My!

Concussions are never exactly what one would consider convenient. At the beginning of April I was rear ended and pushed into the car in front of me, and my neck when like this (see .gif). Veloster made it out impressively fine, but I ended up with some neck-stuff going on and a mild concussion from whiplash. D'oh!

After living in Colorado for six months I have decided to stay. But I did just move to a new apartment... about a mile down the road (not the best time to be concussed). And what a lucky girl I am to have a Dad who likes to help his daughter move! I guess moving is not so bad when it's mid-April and still ski season. (But really, I'm pretty sure skiing was his main motivation all along to come here all the way from West Virginia...)

I do ski but since recently being concussed, I thought it would probably be best if I would tag along and just not do the whole skiing part. So while Dad was out cruising down the mountain, I enjoyed taking some multiple exposure photos of the slope and some images kind-of paired with the Breckenridge ski map. Always looking, always playing. 

The next day we drove over to Camp Hale—my grandpa was in the 10th Mountain Division, so when we're near we like to go and hang around a while. We had a nice little picnic with leftovers from the delicious Breckenridge Distillery Restaurant and washed that down with some Chocolate Coffee Stout from Broken Compass Brewing (we bought a growler full of it the day before—worth it!). And all the while, my girl-dog Luna ran around happy as a clam (photo below for pwoof). 

Earlier during his visit we hiked up South Table Mountain and our noses were greeted by a ton of delicious smelling honeysuckle! The really exciting thing about shooting multiple exposure photography is that you really don't know what you're getting until after you've done it. You can try to theorize framing and lining certain elements up as much as you want, but when it comes down to it, you just have to jump in and have some fun and see what it all results as. There were some big fluffy clouds setting in, and I had an idea to get these honeysuckle plants kind of overlapping with the fluffies—and just as I was eyeing it all up, a man walked into the frame from the top of the mountain, adding a little human element to it all.


Declaration of Improvisation

The Declaration of Improvisation is a project created in support of my MFA thesis work where I encourage designers to increase improvisational experiments in their design process.

I used the Declaration of Independence as a guide to create the Declaration of Improvisation which is an improvised silkscreen piece. It was presented at our 2015 Boston University MFA thesis show titled Zero + Two = One and signed by the audience on opening night.

Five sheets of printmaking paper were individually silkscreened orange and the papers then adhered together to form one larger piece. The final piece represents this process along with multiple additional layers of experimenting with toner and alcohol and also handwritten designs using screenfiller.

The final written piece is approximately 950 words and was handwritten during a three hour time span using a brush tip marker.

The final Declaration is published on Medium and can be read by following this link.



Sparkle and Spin by Paul and Ann Rand is wonderful children’s book simply and expressively about words. But, I wondered what the experience would be if the book expressed more of a story, and what that story might look like if it were based off of the current illustrations. Quickly, and without preparation or peaking ahead, I rewrote each spread of Sparkle and Spin, creating a new story. 

But, what would the experience be if I treated this physical book as a digital process? I photographed each page of Sparkle and Spin using the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. Per page, I inserted the new written content into the code of each new image, resulting in the new imagery. 

The new written content exists in the code of the image of the old content, creating new content. It’s a very circular process that thoroughly excites me. 

Continuing, I created my own "operating system," ML DOS, which attempts to recreate the book Sparkle and Spin due to a “system error.” 

After failed attempts to load all aspects of Sparkle and Spin, images and written content, ML DOS successfully reconfigures the entire book— though, the reconfigured content is the corrupted new images of the old content paired with my new written content. 

If this were a digital experience, the user would click a button when presented with a system error. In this case, the reader is prompted at both the beginning and end of the book with physical reaction based errors from ML DOS, such as, “turn the page to attempt file recovery” and “close book NOW to avoid further corruption!” 

The resulting book embraces the emergence of the old content with new content through a new narrative and a new, curious experience.


2016 Boston University Alumni Awards Materials

Materials were designed for the 2016 Boston University Alumni Awards for the second year in a row. Emceed by Emmy Award-winning Actor, Michael Chiklis (CFA‘86), the 2016 award recipients were honored for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the arts and society on the evening of September 30th in conjunction with Boston University Alumni Weekend 2016.

Design Thinking with metaLAB at the Berkman Center

In regard to the possibility of a new graphic identity, early last spring, metaLAB (at) Harvard was asked by the Berkman Center to create and perform some design thinking exercises at the Center.  

How might we animate the common values of a diverse community, expressing its unique identity and embracing its ever-changing nature? 
The process we devised for framing and testing that challenge took form as a sequence of exercises taken up by Center’s community of staff and fellows. We asked participants to frame and test their work and experience at the Center in semiotic, counterfactual, and sensory terms, activating their creativity and directing it towards an ethnographic account of the Center grounded in visual thinking.

Emoji Stories: Visual poetics for explaining the Center. 
Emoji—little pictograms built into many mobile OSs—are a playful lingua franca of text chat online. We asked participants to describe Berkman in up to nine emoji.  On the back of the card, we asked them to describe in words what their emojis meant.


metaLabyrinth: Exploring values, challenges, and dreams.

Participants answered a series of questions about the values, practice, ambitions, and fears attending their work at the Center. The questions were presented in the form of a "maze book": a physical pamphlet cut and folded to allow multiple, user-determined routes through the pages and the prompts printed on them.


Time Capsule: Telling the Center’s story for deep time.

In small groups, participants nominated items to place in a time capsule to be opened in one hundred years. They were prompted to consider communication in deep time, pondering such precedents as the Voyager Golden Record and designs for communicating the dangers of nuclear waste to visitors thousands of years in the future. Each group generated a long list, selected seven final objects, and drew them alongside short written descriptions. 


Scalar Metaphors: It’s never all one thing or all the other.

Just about everyone at Berkman agrees that the center contains multitudes. We asked groups of participants to formulate a set of dichotomies to complete the following sentence: "At its best, Berkman is most like a ______" (Carpenter/Alchemist; Lamp/Mirror; Curly Fries/House Salad). 

They then shared these with the larger group and everyone identified where they thought the Center should fall on a scale from one semiotic extreme to the other. Finally, individuals selected the dichotomy they found most evocative.

Six dichotomies accrued the most votes. In these dots, you can detect the lively debates that animate life at the Center. How to work with or against power, how to collaborate, and how to effect positive change. The responses offer us ways of thinking about symbolic summations of the Center’s spirit.

The Future of Secrets: Will our private correspondence have a digital legacy?

The Future of Secrets was a studio-based workshop, hosted by Sarah Newman and Marshall Lambert, which explored the implications of connecting, managing, and remembering digital selve, over our lifetimes and beyond. This collaborative poster combines the creative outputs produced during the workshop; design by Marshall Lambert. Presented by metaLAB (at) Harvard & the Berkman Center’s Digital Problem Solving Initiative, April 2016. 

Celebrating two months in Colorado

Dear Skifflers:

After a long haul from Boston with a stop at home in West Virginia to spend time with family, I finally landed in Colorado two months ago today. (!!!)

I enjoyed my three years in Boston, but the reasonings for leaving Boston had begun to outweigh the reasonings for staying. It was time to start building a future for myself and for my studio practice—a future that is both intentional and holistic—and the timing felt very right to make this leap. I had never been to Colorado before arriving here, and I must give credit to a best friend of mine for bragging to me over the last few years about how great Golden, and Colorado in general, was. Shannon: You were right. Colorado is kind of amazing. And thanks for letting Luna and I crash at your and Clay's home until we found our own place to land. We love you!

I must also thank family and friends from the bottom of my heart for the many ways they helped with my move and life transition from Boston to Colorado. Among other things, thanks to: Mom, for making cookies with me, Other-Mom for making me birthday shrimp and grits, Linda & Diana for the sleepover and mug, and Jane for the WV bracelet. Special thanks to my Dad who road-tripped with me from West Virginia to Colorado, towing my car behind as we chugged right along hour by hour on I-70 listening to arguably too much Jerry Jeff Walker, John Prine, and NPR. I love you, Dad—both before, and after, the roadtrip!

It's been a very busy and exciting two months here at Studio Skiffle and I've additionally become a barista part-time at Starbucks for their amazing benefits package, and to be around people (and coffee!!), too! I've found it to be an enjoyable balance so far, hiking and exploring gorgeous Colorado with Luna on my days off.

Due to getting all settled here and everything that entails, I've been pretty silent on the SS social media, but I've got some things up my sleeve and plenty to share from here on out, so please stay tuned! 

xxo, ss

With love from Eldorado Canyon State Park!

Recipient of MarCom Awards

I'm proud to announce that Studio Skiffle has won the following awards: 

Platinum MarCom award in the category of Educational Institution Publication
Project: Volume One, Issue One of Boston University Publication, Spark

Gold MarCom award in the category of Educational Institution Publication
Project: Volume One, Issue Two of Boston University's Publication, Spark

Gold MarCom award in the category of Educational Institution Publication
Project: Volume Two, Issue One of Boston University's Publication, Spark

Print Magazine's Regional Design Award

I'm happy to announce that Studio Skiffle is an award recipient of Print Magazine's Regional Design Award competition for the Illuminus keepsake postcard designed for metaLAB (at) Harvard. 

Print's RDA competition is the graphic design industry's most prestigious and well-respected American design competition. This winning entry will be featured in the Regional Design Awards Winter 2016 Issue of Print.

Details about the winning piece:  This enduring and interactive analogue keepsake for an ephemeral digital exhibition, metaLAB's A Bit in the Abyss for Illuminus Boston, allows visitors to take a bit of the abyss home with them. This 5x7" postcard was printed with highlights of silver foil on the front while the back was entirely printed with silver foil, so to create the mirror effect to compliment metaLAB's art installation, when formed into a cube.

Sharing the Love through Help Portrait

Dear Skifflers:

Help-Portrait was a community of photographers and volunteers who came together in Wheeling, WV on February 10, 2013 to use their skills to give back to people in need in their local community. This inspiring event was a chance to give a person or family something they may have never had before—a professional portrait. Help Portrait was generously held at the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless and functioned through the selfless help of volunteers. 

During this Help Portrait event I spent time wandering around, documenting the different happenings of the event. I visited photographer Rebecca Kiger who was downstairs shooting the portraits. I spent time out front with friend, artist and art-educator Jessica Starr-Leach as she guided art-themed making exercises for children waiting for their parents who were having portraits taken. My favorite room to document was easily the room where folks had their hair and makeup done in preparation for the portraits. Maybe it was all the hairspray in the air, but I could not stop smiling as I watched the participants get pampered and prepped before having their portraits taken. 

There were two parts of this event that struck major chords for me. One was seeing the anxious joy in participants faces—some of whom had not had a professional photo taken in thirty years, while some had never had that experience at all—ever! The other overall moment that was so special to me was to spend this time with friends and colleagues who had selflessly given their time to make this event happen. It was such joy to spend this day sharing all of this together and giving in such a big, beautiful way.

I hope my documentation work from this event inspires others to give in a non-traditional, unexpected way. 

I would like to help organize a Help Portrait event in or near Golden, Colorado. Please reach out to me if you are local and would also like to be involved!

xxo, ss

Photography for WV Restaurant Later Alligator

Dear Skifflers:

I've been working with Susan and Mitchell Haddad of Wheeling, West Virginia restaurant, Later Alligator, to build a new website. The new website will be a big and fresh change from what they've had for the the last decade, the design of which will feature some new photography featuring the charm and every-day moments of the restaurant.

What, I ask, could be more fun than spending time at your favorite restaurant documenting its loyal patrons, local quirks and culture? 
(rhetoric question... photos below!)

xxo, ss

UCDA Award of Excellence

I'm happy to announce that Studio Skiffle has won a UCDA (University & College Designers Association) Award of Excellence for the design of Boston University College of Fine Arts biannual publication, Spark.

Details about the project: An identity, color system and publication design were created for Boston University’s new biannual prospectus, SparkSpark is the newest publication from the College of Fine Arts and features season event highlights and unique storytelling through compelling editorial in a unique broadsheet format. Two colors selected from the cover image become the primary colors of the Fall issue, the complements of which then become the primary colors for the Spring issue. The system carries these colors through logo, overlays, gradients, and type treatments. 

Blueprint for Counter Education Event Graphics

Blueprint for Counter Education Event Graphics

On the occasion of the release of an expanded edition of Blueprint for Counter Education designed by Project Projects and published by Inventory Press, the Consumer Research Center/bookshop at the Carpenter Center hosts a two-day exhibition, roundtable discussion and book presentation.