Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit Selected for Communication Arts Magazine Design Annual

“The optimist in me thinks that design is getting more integrated, more competitive and more imperative,” observes Bobby Martin Jr., a juror who selected Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit as one of entries for Communication Arts Magazine Design 58th Design Annual Competition.

A guide into how craft artisans in Alabama conduct workshops, the Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit was one of only 151 projects accepted out of 3,877 entries.

Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit was created by Robert Finkel, associate professor of Auburn University’s Graphic Design in the School of Industrial & Graphic Design, and Sheri Schumacher, associate professor emerita in AU’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

“The main objective of designing the AL Workshop[s] Toolkit was to provide insight into how craft artisans and makers in Alabama conduct workshops,” Schumacher explains.

The toolkit will be used to promote a network of Alabama artisans, makers and organizations that offer workshops for craft production.

Its aim is also to encourage the mutual exchange of materials, tools, and information, and provides a resource for building creative economies in Alabama. Located in both rural and urban communities, the network of workshops also promotes cultural craft heritage, innovative cottage industries, along with exemplary handmade works.

Artisans featured in the Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit work with a variety of materials including textiles, stone, metal, glass, clay and found objects. Their work is recognized regionally and nationally.

Alabama-based stone craftsman, Brooks Barrow, provides a foreword about the value of the workshops. A resource library in the back of the book provides templates for various waivers and forms for artisans to use in their own practice.

Specifications of the publication: 64-pages, 7.125” x 10.25”, 4-Color printing on Newsprint with a Silver metallic letter-pressed printed cover.

The winning projects are featured in the September/October 2017 issue of Communication Arts, which is the largest international trade journal of visual communications.

Image 1-  Communication Arts magazine, which has sponsored this annual design competition for 58 years, is the largest international trade journal of visual communications. 

Image 2- Featured artisans in the guide work with a wide range of materials such as textiles, stone, metal, glass, clay and found objects. Fabric is another important material which this Alabama artisan uses to create colorful and intricately patterned quilts.

Image 3- The Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit was created by Robert Finkel, associate professor of Graphic Design in the School of Industrial & Graphic Design, and Sheri Schumacher, associate professor emeriti in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. 

Image 4- The Alabama Workshop[s] Toolkit – a guide that provides insight into how craft artisans in Alabama conduct workshops – is featured in the September/October 2017 issue of Communication Arts. The toolkit was selected in the magazine’s annual competition out of nearly 4,000 entries. 

*Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of Sheri Schumacher and Robert Finkel

DesignAlabama Partners with Opelika for its first DesignPlace

DesignAlabama has started a new program and the City of Opelika is its first participating city. Experts associated with DesignAlabama visit selected communities where they provide assistance with design, planning and community identity.

Design experts demonstrate how to enhance quality of life and community development when the design arts are applied. The program involves intensive meetings where design professionals meet with citizens and city leaders who share their ideas and concerns. Two meetings were held this summer in Opelika and a plan will be designed and implemented based on suggestions from the first meeting.

“We were very excited to work with DesignAlabama,” says Opelika City Planner Matt Mosley. “The City of Opelika was happy to see the early ideas and concepts from the charrette. I’m most interested to see the final concepts, especially in regard to the Pepperell Mill and Village and areas on the edges of downtown.”

On the National Register of Historic Places, the Pepperell Mill and Village is a site containing over 200 properties that were constructed between 1925 and 1940 by the Pepperell Manufacturing Company to provide housing for its Opelika textile mill workers. Downtown Opelika is also on the National Register.

The plan provided by DesignPlace will build on revitalization already in place in Opelika. Through the efforts of Opelika Main Street and other groups, much progress has been made to revitalize the city.

“The value of the DesignPlace program is immeasurable,” says Pam Powers-Smith, president of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, an agency that is partnering with DesignAlabama on the new program.

“It’s almost like a dream to have that many experts visit and work with you on solutions to problems,” she adds. “In no other setting would you have access to those people all at one time. I thoroughly enjoyed their visit and how we worked together to get through the particular projects that we felt were best to tackle. And I can’t wait to see our end product, because then we have a working product in our hand that can be used when ready.”

Alabama communities that participated in the DesignAlabama Mayors Design Summit are eligible to apply. A committee of design professionals who direct the program make the final selections.

Image 1: One of the most important aspects of DesignPlace is community input, here the design team is participating in one of two community gatherings during their time in Opelika.

Images 2 and 3: Design professionals from many design fields spend time working together with each other and community leaders to create the best ideas for the community.

Image 4: A rendering produced during DesignPlace of the possible re-use of the Coors Building in downtown Opelika

Image 5: A rendering produced during DesignPlace of the possible re-use of the historic Pepperell Mill site. 

Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of DesignAlabama and Robert Smith (FlipFlopFoto)

DesignAlabama Executive Director Talks about ConnectLivity as Part of the Alabama Arts Radio Series

In this program DesignAlabama Executive Director Gina Clifford talks to Cathy Gerachis DesignAlabama board member, Cheryl Morgan retired professor of architecture at Auburn University, and Jay Lamar Director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, about ConnectLivity.

ConnectLivity is a series of six regional design charrettes to take place across Alabama in 2016 in association with Southern Makers’ events.  Southern Makers is a curated group of artisans working in various fields such as fiber arts, food, wood crafts, fashion and other focus areas.

This special radio series will air every Tuesday at 9:00 to 9:30 P.M., on the Troy University Public Radio Network at:

  • 89.9 (Montgomery and Troy)
  • WRWA 88.7 (Dothan)
  • WTJB 91.7 (Columbus and Phenix   City)

This radio series may not be broadcast in your area, but it can be accessed via the Internet at: http://www.arts.alabama.gov/actc/radioserieslist.aspx

If you have been listening to, and enjoying this radio series, please send your comments to: barbara.reed@arts.alabama.gov

DesignAlabama

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P.O. Box 241263
Montgomery, Alabama 36124
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