Thirteen UW–Platteville students created a banner to help celebrate the university’s sesquicentennial — 150 years of providing education to students throughout Southwest Wisconsin and beyond.
“Celebrate 150 Years!” is a 6-foot-by-11-foot pieced fabric panel with a central image derived from the university’s official 150th anniversary logo. Its title ties in with UW–Platteville’s sesquicentennial theme, “Remember the Past. Celebrate the Present. Pioneer the Future.”
The students created the banner as their final project in the spring 2015 course Crafts I: Fiber and Fabrics, Independent Work in Crafts, taught by Carole Spelic, senior art lecturer at UW–Platteville.
Students in the class included Kellsey Beyer, Arlyn Hembel, Chelsae Hill, Arielle Huth, Anna Jenson, McKenna Luepker, Kayla Potts, Emily Ramsey, Mia Schultz, Megan Sporre, Tomy Nas Xiong, Austin Dietzel and Holly Nygaard.
As their final project assignment for the course, students were to execute a 24-by-26-inch section of the university’s 150th anniversary logo. Students received muslin cloth panels, then projected enlargements of their assigned sections of the banner onto the muslin and traced it out. They were then free to execute the section using any fiber art technique they wanted. Any color and/or pattern could be used, except for the logo itself, which had to be black and white, whereas the background had to be colored.
Students spent about 3½ weeks working on their sections, then Spelic spent about 30 hours sewing the completed sections together and hemming the finished piece, all by hand.
“When students are given the opportunity to work on a large-scale project that will be viewed regularly by the public, they become ambitious,” said Spelic. “Working carefully within given parameters and adhering to a deadline are important factors in the success of a public art project, but the students also love the ‘giving back’ part of making a piece for someone. In this case, the celebratory nature of the banner resulted in delightfully up-beat combinations of color, texture and technique.
“The variety of creative solutions to rendering both the background area and the logo is remarkable. This group of students was wonderfully cohesive and helped each other when the going got tough. All in all, it was a delightful experience.”
The banner is displayed in the middle of the mezzanine wall, opposite the glassed-in entrance hallway, above the Harry and Laura Nohr Gallery in Ullsvik Hall. It was installed by Spelic and Tom Cabezas, manager of the Harry and Laura Nohr Gallery.