A Spring Charrette


Destiny Howard picks the palm frond she will use in her charrette while Dr. John Jacobs watches.

EmilyAnne Charest works on a pattern for her design, which has a dessert goddess theme.

Four fashion design seniors sat at a long table in 211 McGuffey Hall. For the 48 hours starting Feb. 26, they worked in this space completing the Department of Design’s annual charrette.

Dictionary.com describes charrette as an intensive final effort to finish a design project before a deadline. The challenge was for each to create a finished design in 48 hours for the Senior Exhibition at the Radford University Art Museum.

Dakota Wells gets ready to begin her charrette.

“Over the years, the charette has evolved more toward a creative expression using the body as a ‘prop’ for an artistic creation and away from using an assigned inspiration to design traditionally wearable garments,” said Associate Professor of Design John Jacob about the fifth year of these projects.

Starting the challenge he presented the students with palm fronds. Then the students drew numbers from a hat to see who would get first choice.

Destiny Howard had second pick of the palm fronds.

Breege Addo-Collins, EmilyAnne Charest, Destiny Howard and Dakota Wells selected their numbers without hesitation. Wells received first pick.

Jacob said the fronds were Professor of Design Kathy Mitchell’s contribution. Last summer during a professional meeting, she found the fronds falling onto the sidewalk around her hotel. She thought they provided interesting shapes. She carefully collected them and brought them back to Radford.

Breege Addo-Collins enjoys a slice of pizza during the 48 hour challenge.

Before heading into the official charrette, Mitchell showed her finds to the seniors.

“They can work out their inspiration and gather other items that they may want to use but they don’t start working on it until the established time,” she said.

In preparation with this information Howard put together an inspiration board with pictures of whimsical forests and other images.

“My goal was to create something that exemplified the beauty of nature and represented a queen or goddess of nature,” she said.

Charest also incorporated the theme of a goddess into her work. A deserted island deity was her inspiration.

When Jacob announced the project was underway, the four immediately started on their projects. They pulled out sketches, fabric, and pizza (for sustenance, of course). They bantered, laughed and seemed to support each other.

Charest said the four seniors are no strangers to long hours spent on projects and working side-by-side. They have bonded and are close friends. During the charrette, however, they did go home to sleep.

And though they had much to do during their final semester at the university, this project provided a change of pace.

“I think it helps to get assignments like this to help us expand our mind outside the normal assignments of designing for a customer range and being able to explore our creativity,” Charest said.

The end results of the challenge are on display during the Department of Design’s Senior Exhibition March 15-19 at Radford University Art Museum at the Covington Center and March 21–26 at the Radford University Art Museum Downtown. The Senior Exhibition also includes work by interior design students. For more information and museum hours, call 540-831-5754.

There is a reception March 19 at 1 p.m at the Covington Center. Admission is free.

That same evening there is the annual Fashion Fete Fashion Show, which features design collections by the four seniors, as well as juried work by fashion design students at all levels. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information, call 540-831-5386.

Mar 10, 2016