Every year, new students in the MFA in Applied Craft and Design program spend two weeks immersed in what’s known as a “design intensive.” This year, students got to design a learning center at a juvenile detention center in northeast Portland. The 18 students, along with some guest artists, had 10 short days to take a space that seemed hopelessly institutional and make it feel positive and welcoming. JP Reuer, the chair of the program, says it wasn’t easy but the students benefited tremendously from the opportunity to collaborate with the residents of the juvenile detention center and the challenge of working within the constraints of the existing building.
Emily Pilloton is one of the guest designers that JP Reuter has invited in years past. She’s returned to talk to this year’s crop of students. She’s also here in conjunction with her new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft about her design company and her work in Bertie, North Carolina. She and her partner Matt have taken design to another level, teaching community college classes to high school students who previously could not even read a ruler and guiding them to design and build all kinds of things. Their most recent project was a farmers market pavilion in their community. Pilloton’s exhibit documents the past year of the work they and their students have created.
How is your experience of the world changed by design? What physical places move you? Why?
- JP Reuer: Chair of the MFA in Applied Craft and Design at the Oregon College of Art and Craft and the Pacific Northwest College of Art
- Emily Pilloton: Founder and executive director of Project H Design