By Wendy Hensley
Change is in the air at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). With statewide budget cuts and demands for increased enrollment, change is no longer a concept; it’s a requirement. In response, several programs are providing resources that encourage students to experiment and incorporate digital technologies and innovative print applications into their course work.
The decision to discontinue the traditional fibers program in the School of Art is clear evidence of these changes. An alternative option is available to students in the 2-D Digital Hybrids course, where students are encouraged to merge digital technologies with traditional art applications. This advanced course focuses on the introduction of digital tools and techniques that combine traditional methods (painting, drawing, printmaking, textiles and photography) with digital media, bringing the best of both worlds together.
Students are encouraged to experiment with digital printing applications using resources at the university’s large format print lab. The print lab was opened in 2002 and serves the campus and community, offering printing on a variety of media, including photography, fine art, banners, and textiles, such as silk, satin, cotton and polyester.
The print lab is working with faculty from the family and consumer science department to support students in fashion and apparel design with digital textile printing. Computers for Apparel Products, Product Development Studio, and Textiles for Apparel are a few of the courses where this process is being promoted. Students are receiving faculty assistance in preparation for the 2009 Concept to Consumer, Computer Integrated Textile Design Association Competition. (BGSU student Adrianne Lee won the 2007 Apparel Digital Design National Competition.) Plans for this year include encouraging students to use the BGSU large format print lab to enhance their design submissions. The lab will work with individual students to locate textile media to print their digital designs, allowing them to experiment and improve their apparel designs before submission.
Often faculty and students are unfamiliar with the types of printing applications and how they can be used to enhance curriculum. The print lab assists with the creation of innovative approaches to help students with academic projects, working exclusively with faculty and students to develop custom services to support exploration in the large format print environment.
We want our students to learn and take advantage of this cutting edge technology to acquire skills that enhance their employment and career opportunities.