Integrated Design student’s bright idea earns Best Student Product Design in New York

Convocation day was extra sweet for Integrated Design graduate Kelly Van Raay. In addition to receiving her diploma and Ceramics certificate from the Haliburton School of Art + Design, Kelly crossed the convocation stage with an award from [Wanted Design] Brooklyn.

Kelly earned Best Student Product Design for her Lump Lights featured in the Human/Nature: Meditations on Material Culture exhibition. The exhibition, curated by Integrated Design program coordinator Barr Gilmore, displayed in New York at [Wanted Design] Brooklyn during NYCxDesign last month.

“I’m very honoured to have received an award,” said Kelly, who is one of 12 winners out of 150 nominations. “It was exciting. I’ve never won anything in my life before!”

Not only is this Kelly’s first award, the experience is also Kelly’s first time in New York. She travelled to Brooklyn with classmates Christina Dedes and Kelsey Redman, and Integrated Design program coordinator Barr Gilmore for the event.

“It was exciting! I’ve never been to New York before,” she said. “It was crazy to see my work amongst everyone else’s. There were some really prestigious schools there, like the Pratt Institute and Rhode Island School of Design. Being there, I felt like a part of the design community on a world stage. And I’m really happy people enjoy my weird art!”

Kelly, who earned the Ceramics certificate within the Integrated Design diploma program, was asked by program coordinator Barr Gilmore to produce work for the Human/Nature: Meditations on Material Culture exhibition. Kelly coil-built and textured the Lump Lamps by hand, which she then bisque fired, glazed, and then glaze fired.

Patience is a virtue, she learned, as the process is slow and tedious.

“I had to not work too fast, so they take me a couple months to do. I had them done a week before New York,” she said. “I take my time with it. When hand building with wet clay, it’ll slump if you’re working too fast and the piece will crack if you’re drying it too fast, so I have to work slowly.”

After months of hard work leading up to [Wanted Design] Brooklyn, followed by an amazing visit to New York to see her work on display, Kelly is honoured to receive the Best Student Product Design award. Unfortunately she had already left New York before the awards (Barr accepted it on Kelly’s behalf), but was happy to be presented with it on stage at the Haliburton School of Art + Design convocation ceremony.

Kelly said she enjoyed her time at Fleming’s Haliburton Campus, especially the small campus environment and class sizes.

“I had freedom to be creative with my process. It was a very encouraging environment; if I had an idea, I could talk to my instructors or classmates about it,” said Kelly. “It’s always a good environment when you’re surrounded by people making.”

Kelly came to Fleming College after earning her diploma in Theatre Arts – Technical Production from Fanshawe College, where she developed an interest in prop making.

“I thought the Integrated Design program was good for getting more experience related to prop making because it gives you an introductory to many art practices, approaching each practice with good design in mind” said Kelly, who worked in the theatre and entertainment industry in London, Ont., briefly before starting Fleming College. “My Props teacher told me that the most important thing I could do for my career [in prop making] is to go to art school and learn to draw—which, I’ve never had a teacher say ‘go to art school for your career’ before!”

Last month, she graduated from the Integrated Design diploma and Ceramics certificate from the Haliburton School of Art + Design, and is now working as a Studio Technician at a pottery studio in London. Kelly said her experience in the program, as well as at [Wanted Design] Brooklyn, helped shape her as a designer and human by reminding her that practice makes perfect.

 “You’re going to mess up, but that’s okay because you’ll learn for next time,” said Kelly. “I’m at the beginning of my journey, but I learned that I should stick with my gut of what I think is good design, because it’s obviously working.”

An adventurous career in the arts brings exciting possibilities to Valedictorian Taylor Ray Luecke

Before coming to the Haliburton School of Art + Design, Taylor Ray Luecke was unsure whether she wanted to commit to school. Now she is Valedictorian at Fleming’s Haliburton Campus convocation, where she is graduating from the Integrated Design diploma program and Digital Image Design certificate program.

“I never thought I would get this far in my education, never mind be the Valedictorian!” said Taylor. “I am so honoured and proud to speak at convocation. I believe in what our school does and I believe in the students here. We are going to change the world with art and design, I guarantee it.”

Taylor applied to Fleming College’s Integrated Design program years after graduating from high school, having spent the time in between travelling and immersing herself in art. Taylor worked on commissions and branding projects, designed menu boards and displays at the Pastry Peddler Café (where she worked); and in 2016 she designed clothing, created zines and jewellery, and helped with window displays for the art collective Lizard Gang Records.

“After being out of high school for some time, I applied to some college programs still unsure if I wanted to commit to school or not,” said Taylor. “I went to the Open House and got whisked away by the students there. They took me into their world and gave me an Open House unlike any other.”

Taylor attended the Spring Open House event at the Haliburton School of Art + Design and was captivated by the stunning campus.

“Once I entered those doors, I knew I was somewhere special. I met the most wonderful people in my visit and got to talk to some students about what they do, and I knew I didn’t have to look any further,” said Taylor. “Integrated Design helped me channel my skills and interests into something unique, something with potential. The experience gave me so many great opportunities with incredible teachers, inspiring students and an endless opportunity to just be myself and create from the soul.”

In the Integrated Design program, Taylor discovered her interest in relational aesthetics and installation work, enjoyed thinking of concepts and the wildest ways to communicate them, and chose the Digital Image Design certificate within her program to explore new ways of making.

During her third semester, Taylor worked on campus as a Studio Assistant, helping with community projects such as embroidering sashes for Rotary Club, making decals and signs for the school, and making posters for the Youth Hub. She also committed herself to the Student Association events, including yoga nights, bowling nights, life drawing, and Halloween in April.

“The atmosphere of the school was always supportive for me, a place where all ideas and walks of life are welcome. I could dance through the halls and people would dance with me,” said Taylor. “I got to live with my friends and enjoy Friday night pool at the Legion and living room dance parties. My favourite part is the people I have met and the friends that I’ve made. My experience wouldn’t be the same without all of the positive influences around me. Though the time together is short, I have made lifelong friends here.”

In her valedictorian speech, Taylor plans to recognize the journey of the artist and the brave direction that being an artist is. “I want to let all the graduates know how powerful they are with their work,” she said. “Our school is something different and the speech should reflect that.”

After convocation, Taylor will spend the summer working at Algonquin Park and plans to move to Australia in the late fall, taking on freelance projects and continuing to learn. She would like to do artist residencies to push her knowledge, as well as apply for design competitions and exhibitions.

“My path is not direct, but it brings me excitement in thinking of its possibilities.”

Haliburton School of Art + Design Valedictorian Amy Black feels “fortunate” to have an amazing art school in her hometown

amy-black-focus-on-flemingValedictorian Amy Black didn’t have to look far for a leading arts education. Born and raised in Haliburton, Amy feels fortunate that she could earn her diploma at the Haliburton School of Art + Design.

“I am incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing art school in my hometown and was able to study what I love so close to home,” she said. “The school itself is truly amazing. The environment is constantly filled with good vibes and pure talent. My overall experience with HSAD was absolutely incredible. I have gained so many memories and friends that will last a lifetime.”

Amy took the Integrated Design diploma program, which focuses on the fundamental design skills and critical thinking abilities to become a successful designer in any design discipline.

“It was an amazing introduction to design and the different fundamentals of art combined,” she explained. “I also chose this program because I really admire [program coordinator] Barr Gilmore for teaching something he is so passionate about and has firsthand experience with the working field of design.”

Reflecting on her time in the program, Amy said she particularly enjoyed a class field trip to a local thrift warehouse to discuss the sentimental value people place on “stuff.” She also loved her fibre arts project from her first week in the program, where she covered a retro chair in old jean material and flower print pants. “It was one of my coolest pieces throughout the whole year,” Amy said. “The school actually had it in their Maker Space for a while.”

As part of the Integrated Design program, students also have the opportunity to earn an art certificate. They can chose from the following Haliburton School of Art + Design certificate programs: Artist Blacksmith, Ceramics, Digital Image Design, Drawing and Painting, Fibre Arts, Jewellery Essentials, Glassblowing, Moving Image Design, Photo Arts, Sculpture, or Sustainable Building Design and Construction.

Amy decided to take the Photo Arts program for her certificate, explaining, “I myself have a love for photography. Ever since high school I have loved taking pictures. I chose the Photo Arts program because it is a traditional darkroom approach to photography and I really wanted to learn how it was done.”

Amy said that through her post-secondary education, she has developed a lot of technical skills through hands-on experience. “I wasn’t very computer savvy and now I’m what they call a ‘pro,’” she laughed.

As she bids farewell to the Haliburton Campus, receiving both a diploma in Integrated Design and a certificate in Photo Arts, Amy delivered the Valedictorian address at the convocation ceremony on Friday, May 25. Through wit and sarcasm, Amy hopes her speech reflects light, relates to her peers, and leaves graduates feeling proud of what they achieved.

Amy said she would “100% recommend” the Integrated Design diploma to anyone with a love for art and design in need of direction to find their style and passion. Her career goal after graduation is to continue her photography journey and work for a fashion magazine.

Within the walls of the Haliburton School of Art + Design, Christina Dedes feels like she belongs

christina-dedes-blogThe first time Christina Dedes encountered the bright red doors at the Haliburton School of Art + Design (HSAD), she stopped in her tracks to read the quote “Within these walls, the walls within disappear.” Nervousness washed over her as she entered the building, and ever since that day Christina has felt a resolute sense of belonging.

“Within these walls, I’ve had powerful breakthroughs, emotional breakdowns, and moments of complete silence and meditation. Collectively, these emotional experiences have allowed me to grow into myself. Coming to HSAD has been a self-revealing experience, rooted in truth and authenticity,” she said.

Christina began her post-secondary journey in the Visual and Creative Arts Diploma program and is spending her second year in Integrated Design. She plans to receive both diplomas in 2019 after three years of study.

“It was inspiring to see my classmates develop and grow throughout the semester, and we supported each other through all the long days and sleepless nights.”

She describes Visual and Creative Arts as challenging but said it helped her develop a strong work ethic. She also gained a better understanding of materiality, form, composition, and digital programs like Photoshop.

“It was inspiring to see my classmates develop and grow throughout the semester, and we supported each other through all the long days and sleepless nights,” said Christina. “I am really proud of the VCAD class for all of our collective accomplishments, and for allowing ourselves to grow into new and wholesome human beings. By the end of VCAD, we were all a little less terrified of what was to come and a bit more confident of our abilities to create a better future.”

A self-portrait of Christina Dedes.
A self-portrait of Christina Dedes

Looking back, Christina said those long days and late nights were some of her favourite HSAD moments, including ordering pizza to campus to enjoy with her classmates while working on projects. And despite feeling exhausted, Christina said she wouldn’t change a thing.

She decided to continue her studies at Fleming’s Haliburton Campus by enrolling in the Integrated Design program, which helps students discover what kind of designer they are meant to be.

“The creator of the program, Barr Gilmore, has created a diploma that gives a well-rounded view of the design world. Whether you’re learning about the history or applying the theory into your own design drawings, you can be confident that the skills you are building in the classroom will benefit you in real-world scenarios in the future,” said Christina, who enjoys using the Maker Space on campus, which features a laser cutter, plotter printer, and two 3D printers for students to use.

“The Haliburton School of Art + Design is unlike any place you’ve visited before, and it’s likely you’ll never come across a place like this again.”

She started the program on a high note, winning the MacBook Pro contest Fleming College hosted. Since most of Christina’s assignments are done through Adobe programs, having a laptop has helped her work on-the-go.

“The Haliburton School of Art + Design is unlike any place you’ve visited before, and it’s likely you’ll never come across a place like this again. Regardless of your skill level, you will be welcomed into the HSAD community, where you will meet many like-minded individuals who come from all over Ontario,” said Christina. “I cannot stress enough how fortunate the students are to be surrounded by so many compassionate and skilled artisans, designers, and creatives during the school year. The building itself offers space for every type of creative pursuit, and the beautiful, meditative campus will keep you grounded during your studies.”

Integrated Design program coordinator Barr Gilmore creates ‘prep school’ for design and life

barr-gilmoreWhen creating the Integrated Design program at Fleming College’s Haliburton School of Art + Design (HSAD), professor Barr Gilmore wanted to ensure students received more than a foundation in design studies.

“I think of it as not only a ‘prep school’ for a life in design, but also for life itself,” he says. “I encourage my students to dig deep, to develop their own manifestos and philosophies on life through self-knowledge. I ask them to listen to their dreams and personal desires, and to empathize with others less fortunate and/or different from themselves. In short, I ask them to design their own lives.”

The Integrated Design program, unique in Ontario, allows students to develop the fundamental design thinking, problem-solving skills and hands-on material culture needed to further their design education in whatever field they decide to pursue – graphic, fashion, interior or industrial design, urban planning, landscape architecture, sustainable building or architecture.

Barr, a graphic and industrial designer since 1996, has worked with numerous high profile clients. A former senior design associate at Bruce Mau Design, Barr started his own company, Barr Gilmore Art + Design, in 2005. He has won the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal as well as numerous awards for his book and exhibition designs. In 2009, he was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts for his graphic design work.

Now, as an educator, Barr believes he needs to lead by example. As such, he developed for his class an Integrated Design Manifesto, which sums up both his teaching and design philosophy:

  • DREAM BIG… then dream a little bigger.
  • LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION… and your heart.
  • COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY… efficiently and with conviction.
  • SELL YOUR IDEAS… not your soul.
  • COLLABORATE WITH THE BEST… don’t neglect the rest.
  • PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS… and don’t drop the ball.
  • EXPERIMENT WITH LIFE… but take responsibility for your actions.
  • LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES… then try, try again.
  • APPLY YOURSELF NOW… make it happen.
  • BE A VISIONARY… more importantly, be yourself.

Back in 2012, when Barr was first contacted by HSAD Dean Sandra Dupret about creating a new program, he had never been to Haliburton and didn’t know much about the School.

“But I was intrigued at the possibility of starting a new program from scratch,” he says, having just completed his MDes in May 2011 at OCADU with an Interdisciplinary Masters in Art, Media and Design.

And so, Barr made the trip to Haliburton to check out the campus, the town and the possibilities.

“It was a beautiful fall day,” he recalls. “The leaves were on fire with colour and Head Lake was crystal clear and still. As I drove up to the school, I remembered thinking, ‘Wow, what a beautiful blue school nestled into the highland woods.’”

Entering the signature red doors, Barr says he could feel the energy of the place as he passed studios filled with people working calmly on their art.

“Everyone greeted me with a warm smile and made me feel welcomed.”

Though he was initially consulted about creating a graphic design program, Barr surmised his vision of a traditional classroom where students were sitting at desks, glued to laptops didn’t jive with what was happening within the creative culture at the Haliburton Campus.

“For me, it was more important that I create a program where art and design and craft meet on equal footing and that our students get an opportunity to experience hands-on material culture, as well as developing software application skills – in the hopes that interdisciplinary breakthroughs, inventions and methodologies would have a chance of happening on a regular basis.

As such, the idea for an Integrated Design program was born and the compressed, three-semester diploma program first launched in September 2014.

Since then, Barr has assembled a “kick-ass” line-up of practicing design professionals – material culturalist J.P. King, graphic designer and photographer Michael Barker, landscape architect and documentary filmmaker Joseph Clement, and 3D animation guru Chris Bahry, amongst others – to come up to Haliburton for intensive two-week courses, so as to provide his students with the most current contemporary culture and design wisdom.

Barr still maintains his graphic and environmental graphic design practice with an international client base, though, the more time he spends in Haliburton, the more his practice is shifting towards industrial design and the art of making, he says.

While teaching wasn’t something he initially set out to do, Barr says it has been a rewarding experience.

“It’s important to be adaptable to change,” he emphasizes. “I love seeing the light go on in a student’s head when you introduce them to an idea or an ideology that they hadn’t previously thought of. It’s exciting to see a student truly find themselves, become engaged and take ownership of their creativity. I also learn a lot from my students and I think that is what keeps me young at heart, current and engaged. I’ve been pretty lucky in life and love, in art and in design, so it’s nice to share my knowledge and experience with others.”

And since his first visit to Haliburton four years ago, Barr has become completely enamoured of it.

“I love the clean air, the fresh water, the abounding nature, the free-roaming wild animals, the friendly people, the talented artisans, the cross-country skiing at lunch behind the school, the social life of the curling club, swimming, kayaking, canoeing and floating aimlessly in the lakes and rivers of Haliburton County, the local micro brews, the farm fresh farmers’ markets, and the push toward sustainable living as well as owning a farm, an Airstream trailer, a truck and a ride-around snowblower/lawnmower and being able to share it all with my partner, our dog, our two horses and all the friends and family from the big bad city that come to visit us.”

Barr adds that he may not know what the future will bring, “but right now, at this moment in time, Haliburton is the place to be – and there is a lot of opportunity here. I love it.”