Projects inspired by coastal Maryland’s marshlands focused on the collection of invasive plant life for raw materials. With the help of The Conservation Department at The National Aquarium and Weed Warriors, MICA students formed a local environmental army to collect unwanted bamboo and vine from this fragile ecosystem. Several students feasted upon the bounty of flexible, durable material to create a fascinating variety of eco-conscious objects. Hair Rollers by Ann Louise Markison simply use small hollow sections of bamboo with minimal slices and holes to create a natural styling tool. Mier Luo slices even smaller sections of bamboo in the Circle2 line of bowls, vases, tables, and coasters. Each section is tied to the next by a waxed linen thread to form a gird of circles, organized into various light and playful decorative objects. The Poe Pen, Garrett O’Brochta’s homage to the famous local poet, encases a marker within a stylized carved bamboo body and cap, its graphic quality reminiscent of a Crayola marker.
Another group of College of the Arts students preoccupied themselves with industrial and post-consumer materials. The Ringed Corner Chair by Taryn Delinsky consists of a web of circular sections of manila rope tied together in linen string; its fibrous ropes recall Maryland’s fishing and textile industry past.
Hyeji Jun’s Album Quilt Tote, a canvas bag that bring back to life a popular local design from the 1840′s, derives its name from the quilted blocks on its sides. Each piece is a reused piece of fabric taken from clothing and linen at local thrift stores, the designs chosen specifically due to their specific ties to the city of Baltimore. Like the other 100 Mile Design Challenge participants from Baltimore, this design extends the meaning of sustainability beyond its ecological roots. These MICA students strive to sustain not just their region’s ecosystem, but also its traditions, through locally resourced and crafted products that tell a story about their place of origin.