College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design


by Jean McElvain, Assistant Curator at the Goldstein Museum of Design

The 2014 senior apparel lines presented at the Align Fashion Show on the 15th of February were serious and smart as they strode through the courtyard of Rapson Hall. With an array of whites, blacks, grays, and beiges, even the most devout modernist likely craved a bit of color by evening's end. But the diversity of lines brought a riot of smart styles that explored gender-bending, tradition, and futurism. As someone who is constantly looking back at the history of fashion through my work with the Goldstein Museum of Design's collection, I saw hints of past styles while viewing the work of these emerging designers. The likenesses between them are arguable, but I was inspired to explore precedents for a few of my favorites.

The calm romanticism of Karen Fiegen's wedding gown had traces of a mid-1950s Adele Simpson evening dress. The white dress is, of course, much more demure than its strident black counterpoint.

alignandcollection1.jpgleft: Gown by Karen Fiegen. Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 1984.047.009 Adele Simpson, 1950-1955, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Mrs. Elmer L. Andersen.

Jessa Manthe's toothy gray coat immediately reminded me of 1970s coat by Donald Brooks. While the style lines are dissimilar, Manthe's emphasis on materiality and quirk echoed Brooks' surprising diamond-pattern of raccoon fur.

alignandcollection2.jpgleft: Coat by Jessa Manthe. Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 1988.022.001 Donald Brooks, 1970, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Annette Neff.

The brooding nature of Paul Erling's dress evoked a 1980s silhouette with de-emphasis on the female form. Erling's dress "out-drama's" its Zandra Rhodes comparison, but both have a sneak-peek element that keeps us visually re-visiting the garment over and over.

alignandcollection3.jpg left: Dress by Paul Erling. Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 1992.035.008-3 Zandra Rhodes, 1980-1989, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Miles (Shirley) Fiterman.

The crisp lines and blocked use of black and white of this ensemble by Thanh Nguyen elicits a 1980s vibe, complete with a tight turned collar and office-chic attitude.

alignandcollection4.jpgleft: By Thanh Nguyen Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 1992.035.019 Chanel, 1975-85, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Miles (Shirley) Fiterman.

Kayna Hobbs' jacket, with its asymmetry and highly constructed angles, immediately reminded me of Thierry Mugler's work from the 1980s. Both handle complexity, rigidity, and femininity with aplomb.

alignandcollection5.jpgleft: Jacket by Kayna Hobbs. Photo by Rod Hasse.
right: 2005.001.020-1Thierry Mugler, 1990-1995, Goldstein Museum of Design Collection, Gift of Emily Willard.

Align: The Exhibition will be on display in the GMD's HGA Gallery through May 4, 2014.
Visit for more information.


This fall, the College of Design's Text and Image class (GDES 3351) was asked to design a graphic identity (the look that unifies all the promotional materials for an event) for the upcoming Goldstein exhibition, "Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer." This was no small task, as every exhibition requires postcards, posters, banners, and text panels that work together to quickly convey its tone and content to the public.

This is not the first time the Goldstein has collaborated with students. Previous exhibitions have featured student work, including "Quest for the World's Best Baskets," "Redefining, Redesigning Fashion," and "Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories."


The project started in October with a presentation about Vera scarves and the designer responsible for their success, Vera Neumann. The exhibition themes were discussed, helping students gain a sense of what message these postcards and posters need to send. Following the sneak peek, students were provided with images of the Goldstein's Vera scarves - over 200 - and a short list of requirements. Aside from this, they were free to experiment.

verascarvesDEC2013.jpgScarves by Vera Neumann (American, 1907-1993), Goldstein Museum of Design, Gift of David Anger and James Broberg.

Goldstein staff members were asked to attend two formal critiques. During the first session, each student presented three ideas in draft form. The best of the three was selected. Students then developed that design into a final product.

On December 18, 2013, the class presented their final designs. With 25 excellent designs to choose from, Goldstein staff had a difficult decision to make. In the end, a design by Aimee Brouchard was selected. Aimee's playful composition features a large photo of Vera, resplendent in her signature blonde bob hairstyle and thick black glasses, surrounded by flowers designed for her iconic scarves.


by Natasha Thoreson

Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer will be on display in Gallery 241, McNeal Hall
May 17 - June 29, 2014.
Opening Party: Friday, May 16, 6-8pm



We are pleased to announce that Mary Alice Chaney joined the Goldstein Museum of Design staff this week. Although Mary Alice is new to her role as Exhibitions Coordinator (the position previously held by Jim Dozier, who retired this fall), she is no stranger to the museum. While working on her Masters degree at UMN, Mary Alice did exhibition installation in what is now Gallery 241 for two years. In the spring of 2010, when she was a PhD candidate in Apparel Studies (with a minor in Museum Studies), she served as the GMD Communications Assistant. She also completed an internship here at the museum where she studied the deaccessioning process. Her dissertation was on Hmong baby carriers in Minnesota, which grew out of her Master's work in Hmong textiles. She later wrote an article on world baby carriers for the Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion.

While she was completing her dissertation, Mary Alice had an internship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. She then went on to a position at the Beverly Historical Society in Beverly, Massachusetts. There, she started work on a comprehensive inventory of their textile collection, including dresses from the early 1800s.

Mary Alice will be planning and installing exhibitions in both Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall and the HGA Gallery in Rapson Hall. She will also be working with the museum's collection. Please join us in welcoming her back!


jackliebenberg.jpg A Monument to the Early Explorers of Minnesota, Jacob J. Liebenberg, ca. 1916, pen and ink wash mounted on heavy half inch thick board, 64.5x87in.

The College of Design's Drawing Archives contain more than 2,000 drawings by architecture students from the last hundred years. This overwhelming collection shows the range of projects that have interested students and faculty, as well as the changing views about architectural representation. Student work of the past, much like ours today, either followed the current trends within the field or reacted against them. The student drawings display the individual's style of representation and the common beliefs of each generation, which are visible in the architectural design as well as the compositional details.

observatory.jpg Observatory, P.W. Kilpatrick, 1927, ink wash, watercolor on paper, 63.9x96.8 in.

For example, the representation of trees in these drawings varies significantly through time. They show contemporary views about the use of color and line weight, as well as the preferred media. There is a distinct difference between the carefully clipped greenery of early 20th century drawings done in monotone washes and the vibrant globular trees that begin to appear in the 30s. During the 40s there is a stylistic split in the student work between the free-form umbrella style and angular geometric trees that transitions into the leafless stick trees of the 50s.

Gateway to a Great City.jpg Gateway to a Great City, Albert Ameson, 1939, watercolor on heavy board, 97x63.5 in.

The trees also display the students' beliefs about the role of nature in architecture through their relative scale when compared with the surrounding buildings and the choice of which drawings to show them in. Even the purposeful lack of trees in many mid-century projects indicates the priorities of architectural representation at that time.

visualartcenter.jpg Visual Art Center, T.J. Schlink, 1962-63, graphite, ink, watercolor, plastic on board, 76x101 in.

A selection of student drawings will be displayed on the second floor of Rapson Hall and in the Architecture Library during the Centennial Reunion, October 25-27. Pause to look at these drawings and let their details inspire your own representational style.

by Madelyn Sundberg, GDIII M. Arch & M.S. Heritage Conservation and Preservation candidate


Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry: 16th Century Ribbed Vaults in Mixteca, Mexico is on display in the Goldstein Museum of Design's HGA Gallery at Rapson Hall through October 13th. Researcher and guest exhibition curator, Benjamin Ibarra Sevilla (Assistant Professor, Architecture, CDes) will be giving an opening lecture Monday, September 16, 6pm in Rapson Hall 100.

Nicholas Kramer, a UMN Architecture student, shares with us the process behind the 3D printing of the models of the vaults and their keystones in the exhibition.


The models in the Mixtec Stonecutting exhibit are the product of many hours, many hands, and several different machines. Before the digital models existed, the only place to see these vaults was within their respective churches in Mexico. After many hours with a 3D scanner, they had literally been turned into clouds of points, inhabiting their respective places within a computer.

Point Cloud 1.JPG
Point Cloud 2.JPG
From the point cloud data, digital models of each vault were constructed, and the keystones extracted. Building and refining these models to the exacting specifications of the 3D printer took many months. The 3D printer requires the models to be "water tight", meaning they must be a complete solid with no bare edges. This can be difficult in such complex pieces. Since each model is a different size and has a different degree of complexity, the time it takes to print each piece varies tremendously.

Tepos Digital Model.JPG

Yan Digital Model.JPG
Some of the pieces in the exhibit were printed overnight and took little interaction other than pressing the print button on the 3D printer, while others took upwards of two days to print and even longer to remove from the support material.


The process of creating these models was a tremendous challenge, but ultimately proved to be an invaluable learning experience. The most exciting thing for us is that the models provide the opportunity to see and study something many would never have been exposed to otherwise.



– by Nicholas J. Kramer, School of Architecture, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, B.D.A

Images courtesy of Nicholas Kramer and GMD.


Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories has been enchanting visitors with glimpses into the rich background behind printed fabric that is often overlooked. Banner Creations, the local company that produces the banners for GMD's exhibitions and then turns them into unique tote bags for our visitors to take home as souvenirs, has a story to tell too.

Banner Creations has always had an interest in the environment. The company's founder, Nora Norby, has vivid memories President Jimmy Carter telling the country to turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater, advice she believes is still sound today. The mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle" is something she has always taken seriously. So when she heard about a fabric called "EcoPhab" several years ago she ordered it to see if it could be a viable fabric to use for banners and table covers, and indeed it was!

Banners used for promoting events are often made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), commonly known as vinyl, which is harmful to both humans and the environment. Vinyl banners outgas vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen, the material is not recyclable, and some estimates state that it could take over 700 million years to break down in a landfill. EcoPhab, on the other hand, is made from recycled plastic bottles, creating a market which allows them to be diverted from the landfill. The bottles are cleaned, chopped up, melted, and extruded into a fiber which is then woven into fabric.

EcoPhab has other noteworthy advantages over vinyl as a banner material. It can be machine washed, tossed in the clothes dryer and even ironed (which would melt vinyl), and it can be repurposed as something like a tote bag, extending its useful life even further.

In order to make the most of this innovative fabric, Banner Creations digitally prints special water-based inks onto paper. They then take the printed paper and fabric and put them through a heat transfer press at 400 degrees, dying the fabric and setting the color so that it is washable. This process eliminates the need for the solvent-based inks that are typically used for printing vinyl banners, protecting workers from harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Initially the only client that showed much interest in EcoPhab was Organic Growers, and by 2006 it was going to be discontinued. Around that time Banner Creations got a commission from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for the "Eco Experience" at the Minnesota State Fair that ended up using about 900 yards of the material, literally down to the last bolt in country. Perhaps not coincidentally, that same year people started to realize how urgent today's environmental issues really are, sparking a new interest in more sustainable materials.

They got an order that would need about 30,000 yards of fabric, but by that time it wasn't available anymore. So Norby's company convinced the fabric mill to start producing it again, and more of their clients started ordering their banners and table covers made from EcoPhab. In response to this increased demand, other mills started producing similar products in different weights and for different uses.


Banner Creations now makes a variety of products with this fabric, such as table covers, banners, placemats, pillows, curtains, shower curtains and backdrops. They now also have a consumer line called Scrappy Products which includes reusable grocery bags, totes, utility bags, zip-top carry-on bags, duffle bags and aprons all made from this material.

The beauty of EcoPhab in combination with the dye sublimation printing process is that items made from it are washable, and when a product wears out it can go back to mill to be recycled again. Breathtakingly sustainable!

All Goldstein Museum of design exhibition banners are printed by Banner Creations on EcoPhab, then turned into commemorative bags which are sold in Gallery 241 and online.

Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories will be on display in Gallery 241 through Sunday, August 25.

Based on an interview with Nora Norby
Compiled by Emily Marti

Other support for Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories comes from: Surface Design Association, Fabric Graphics Association, Wet Paint, and a grant from the Northrop Summer Music Festival, presented by Northrop Concerts and Lectures at the University of Minnesota.


MetroSketchers arrayed in the GMD gallery

MetroSketchers is an informal group of Twin Cities people whose goal is to "get out in the world and draw." On a warm Sunday afternoon in August, 19 members of MetroSketchers made themselves comfortable in the gallery, where Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories is on view through August 25. Using colored pencils, they produced a great variety of drawings. Some drawings were fun riffs on the textiles, some zeroed in on a print's detail, and some emphasized the array of mannequins and details of the gallery itself. Each drawing provides a new way of seeing the exhibition and its objects, adding yet another "story" to the theme of Pattern Stories.

Thank you, MetroSketchers, for your visit. You are always welcome at GMD!

A dress by New York designer Stephen Sprouse inspired a drawing. Notice the beautiful printed dress worn by the artist.

The exuberant quality of designer Virginia Lee Demetrios' block print, "Finnish Hop", was effectively captured in a drawing (at right in right hand photo). The contour drawing of the gallery (at left in right hand photo) includes the visiting artists.

A pencil drawing of designer Pauline Trigere's jumpsuit communicates the shimmer of the silk satin.

by Kathleen Campbell
Photos by Hannah Wendlandt


Rural areas worldwide are undergoing profound changes, creating challenges and stress for residents and the ecosystems upon which they depend. Over the past fifty years, rural regions worldwide have undergone enormous changes, impacting the quality of rural life and its economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Rural design brings design thinking and problem-solving to rural issues, recognizing that human and natural systems are engaged in continuous cycles of influence and response. Rural design provides an effective, innovative, and creative means to engage these problems and opportunities.

Rural Design: A New Design Discipline outlines the theoretical basis for rural design. It also explores the importance of looking at issues that connect and cross borders to create synergy and solutions from both urban and rural perspectives - global, national, regional, and local. Design can integrate knowledge across disciplines and designers can translate and apply research knowledge to the design process, helping to bridge the gap between science and society.

Change is inevitable. The goal of the exhibition is to reveal rural design as an important design discipline that can assist rural communities to manage and shape their futures. It is critical that the values of rural places are preserved for future generations and that the potential of the land is maximized to provide food and fiber for a rapidly expanding world population.

−Dewey Thorbeck, guest curator for Rural Design: A New Design Discipline

Rural Design: A New Design Discipline has been on the road this summer. After visiting the University of Minnesota at Morris in June, it is making a stop at McNeal Hall outside of Gallery 241. It will be on display there through August 25th before it continues on to other destinations. Contact Lin Nelson-Mayson at if you would like it to visit your institution.


On July 9 and 11, four groups of high-energy children ages 5 through 13 visited GMD's exhibition, Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories and then enjoyed a hands-on experience with block printing.

The 52 students were attending a week-long Gopher Adventure camp on U of M's St. Paul campus. Exhibition curators Jean McElvain and Kathleen Campbell were the tour guides and block printing instructors.

The paper hearts at this mannequin's feet indicate the "favorite" votes that several students gave this Stephen Sprouse designed dress. The students liked the graffiti inspired lettering printed on its surface.

The kids impressed Jean and Kathleen by ably describing the different vantage points for these two screen prints of trees.

After the gallery tour, each group went to a nearby classroom to learn how to make block prints on cloth. The designs on the six linoleum blocks were carved by GMD staff members the week before.

Jean demonstrated how to apply ink to the linoleum block with a roller.

The kids quickly caught on. They enjoyed inking the rollers.

After rolling the ink onto the block, the next step was flipping the block face down onto the cloth and pressing down very hard on the block.

Wow! Each student took home a block-printed textile.

Special thanks to Wet Paint art supply in St. Paul for generously donating the tools, blocks, and ink so that students could experience block printing hands-on.

This exhibition is up through August 25.

−Kathleen Campbell


Barbara Heinemann, Margot Seigel, and Mark Schultz

The GMD would like to extend congratulations to Barbara Heinemann, who has been selected to receive the College of Design's 2012-13 Alumni Service Award. She will be presented with the award at the Alumni Association's gala celebratory event during Homecoming Week on September 26, 2013.

Barbara was a co-curator for the GMD's Spring 2013 exhibition Redefining Redesigning Fashion and the 2009 exhibition Intersections: Where Art and Fashion Meet.




Archives List