Spoonflower Spotlight: 4 College Student Projects

FEB 15, 2020 updated Aug 4, 2021
Spoonflower Spotlight: Meet Our Student Project Grantees | Spoonflower Blog

Walking down the runway. Covering gallery walls. Setting the table for a community meal. These students impressed us with the compelling and innovative ways they used Spoonflower to take their projects to the head of the class.  

Now their visions have become reality and these creators are sharing the results. We’re catching up with this inspiring group to see what they’ve been up to. We’ve also asked them to share some words of wisdom for the students in the Spoonflower community working towards the end of the school year.

Are you a student looking to use Spoonflower for your next design project? If so, you’re eligible for 15% off Spoonflower products thanks to ID.me!

Carlos Osuna, Columbia College Chicago, fashion design

“Project Rule Zero is a collection that focuses on adaptive wear and the impact of graffiti as culture value. This apparel collection focused on designing in the mindset of those with physical disabilities while creating stylish and modernized garments that will revolutionize the fashion community in every season. The Spoonflower Student Project Grant was able to aid in funding custom printed fabrics for this collection.”

Carlos: I had the opportunity to order a variety of fabrics for my senior thesis collection. The main three fabrics I focused on were Performance Pique, Minky, and Eco Canvas. I was able to order sample fabrics from Spoonflower to personally feel and play with all their options in order to figure out what was best for Project Rule Zero. 

When first starting a collection many designers don’t realize fabric choice is the base foundation to the overall concept. To successfully have a cohesive collection I knew I had to design my own prints and patterns and achieve my overall look and feel I was trying to portray. Not only did Spoonflower go beyond what I needed but what I loved about the overall process working with Spoonflower was their mission. They granted miracles for students who not only wanted to change the world with their creativity, but they were there to make sure what we needed would be accomplished. 

Once I graduated in 2019 I was able join Levis’ as a tailor.  At the tailor shop I was able to add to my skill set something I never knew existed—chainstitch. I am constantly pushing boundaries on how art and fashion can mix and how we can personalize our own garments to make them new again. I will also be opening up my brand, Color Control, very soon….so stay tuned.

If you could give advice to other college students working on a large creative project, what would it be?

For anyone reading this, trust me I went through exactly what you went through. Although at times it feels like it’s impossible to continue on and make your dreams a reality, you must step back, take a break and get back into it 200% harder. Never be scared to try to accomplish the impossible, it never hurts to try.

Kianna Gonzalez, Carnegie Mellon University, fine arts

“I was given the opportunity by Spoonflower to elevate my Senior Art Show installation. This show was a culmination of my four years as an art student and I wanted it to reflect the trajectory of my skills and narrative abilities. My work with Spoonflower was featured in the form of a ceiling high wallpaper of my own design and larger than life Puerto Rican and Cuban flags made of Chiffon. The purpose of my installation was to represent the dualities associated with being Latino-American through the iconography, colors and narratives from these two cultures as they influence my life.” 

Kianna: My grant included plans for custom wallpaper and Chiffon fabric to sew flags. These projects were designed to marry the multiple worlds I find myself connected to and represented by as a Latino-American. For example, the wallpaper featured imagery that represented New York City, meant to reference the city’s minority/latino history, as well as the tropical foliages and creatures of Caribbean landscapes.

Spoonflower is a great tool because they carry the best fabrics and make customization incredibly easy. Additionally, they were beyond helpful when I changed my proposal plans or had issues with my orders making them a fantastic resource and support system throughout the grant process. 

The scope of my work while I was in school was supported by mentors, facilities, and endless inspiration but now, as an unemployed graduate in New York City, my options are limited. To satisfy that creative itch, I have been working with textiles through sewing and crocheting as well as teaching myself how to embroider. It has been great just being creative for myself and seeing my skills grow without the rush of a grade or assignment. 

If you could give advice to other college students working on a large creative project, what would it be?

Make your plans bigger than you think they can be, but be prepared not to complete it all. I think it is better to plan for the most and whittle down the scope than it is to scramble for ways to make it bigger. Keeping that in mind, no matter how big or small your plan is, give yourself wiggle room in your budget, timeline and skill set. There will always be an unexpected bump in road and it is best to plan ahead.

Elise Martin, Wayne State University, fibers
elisemariemartin.com | @elisem.art.in

“I wanted to show the intensity and intimacy of physical connection by quilting together digitally printed images of the body. I wanted to create textiles for my project that combined photo-renderings and hand drawn patterns. Spoonflower was the easiest option for creating a layered print without having to burn multiple silk screens or do multiple fabric transfers.” 

Elise: I printed my designs on the Petal Signature Cotton™ because it was light weight making it easy to cut up and collage.

I have since moved away from creating pictorial representations of touch, and have been focusing more on the creation of physical objects which invite actual touch and interaction. I’ve been looking at every day objects which conventionally act as a stand-in for human touch and trying to push that concept to encompass other types of human to human intimacy.

If you could give advice to other college students working on a large creative project, what would it be?

Don’t over complicate it.

Raina Wellman, Rhode Island School of Design, graphic design
rainawellman.com | @unnff

“The Spoonflower Student Project Grant gave me the tools to explore new ways of making and production. As a graphic designer with a fine arts background, I had been interested in designing and producing textiles for a very long time. Spoonflower’s ability to print my textile designs and the variety of fabric choices all were invaluable to complete my finished art pieces. I also deeply appreciate the way that Spoonflower has supported the work of many artists.”

Raina: Using the Spoonflower Student Project Grant I created a series of textiles in order to create and define space for four projects relating to my senior thesis at RISD. The textiles I created were used in multiple ways, including highlighting the complicated processes of food production during a dining event, creating a space for internet contributions and community gathering, and illustrating interconnectivity. In each case, the textiles served different, but important purposes.

I’ve been working on a few exciting projects. My current favorites are a long distance digital communication with my friend Kevin Dong and the Instagram face filters I have been making for fun. Both have presented different opportunities to create stronger connections and to share my work with people.

If you could give advice to other college students working on a large creative project, what would it be?

I think my best advice would be to always ask. Ask for help, ask for access, ask for resources, ask for support! It is never not worth it to ask and you may be surprised by what you are able to accomplish and learn.

Spoonflower and ID.me

Spoonflower is excited to support members of our community who are active or retired US military, first responders and nurses, teachers and students through our ID.me partnership.

If you fall under one of these groups, click “Verify with ID.me” at checkout for 15% off your order!

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