Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Three Art + Design Students Win Coveted Research Awards

Three Art + Design Students Win Coveted Research Awards

SRS Award Recipients Jessica Van Ruitan and Jada Keeran

Two School of Art + Design Students stood out among the competition at the 2017 SDSU Student Research Awards this past March. The SDSU Student Research Symposium provides a public forum where SDSU students present their research, scholarship, or creative activities. Over 50 cash awards were given to undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of disciplines.

SRS Award Recipient Cathy Nguyen

Second-year graduate student in graphic design, Cathy Nyugen, won the Art Exhibit Award for her research presentation, Plexus: A Study in Nonlinear Storytelling. Nyugen combined her love of language, books, and art to produce an artist’s book that weaves the voices of two stories: “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges (1941) and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). According to Nyugen, though these two works were created at different times, with different plots and intended audiences, both of these stories navigate themes of dreams, illusion, and confusion, ideas that question reality, order, and language as linear constructs. To explore these ideas, Plexus features triangular shaped pages that can be reconfigured into two and three-dimensional pathways of reading.

Undergraduate student in ceramics Jessica Van Ruitan and Open University ceramics student, Jada Keeran, won the President’s Award for their research project Replication and Research of 18th Century Puebla Pottery in which they to replicated 19th century Puebla pottery and analyzed how the original pottery was made.

Van Ruitan and Keeran researched the history and transportation of Mexican majolica pottery found decades earlier in archeological excavations at the San Diego Presidio. The students discovered that the archeological materials excavated in the 1970’s had never been analyzed. Using information about trade routes, colonization, and cultural interaction, Van Ruitan and Keeran connected how the pottery shards excavated at the Presidio were produced.

Their research also involved identifying traditional colorants and glazes, looking at which materials are currently available, researching fragments of original Puebla pottery, and coming up with substitutions for ingredients that are no longer in use. The two students worked with history students and experts from the archeology lab to research the historic clay and glaze techniques used by Puebla potters to produce accurate replicas of the ceramics found at the presidio between the years 1810 and 1840.

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