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Lines of the Land: Gordon Art Fellowship Offers Illustration Student Chance to Merge Art and Nature

Posted May 16, 2017 in StudentIllustration

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) Illustration student Dayna Walton will be spending her summer in the studio, but not the kind she’s used to working in on campus.

Walton is one of two recipients of the Gordon Art Fellowship, an initiative of the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute that gives undergraduate art students the opportunity to unite their passion for art and their love of nature into an immersive learning experience. The fellowship’s associated stipend will enable her to work alongside Illustration Assistant Professor Nancy Hart on a project titled “Earth Colors” in which she’ll study natural dyeing processes and other uses for natural pigments through the institute’s abundant plant life.

“Dayna was selected because she is an excellent student artist and her project fit well within the environmental sustainability principals that the Institute works to promote. This project, with the use of environmentally friendly plant-based dyes sourced from the Institute, will be an excellent way to combine environmental education and the appreciation of nature,” says Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Education Director Sara Parr Syswerda.

work by Dayna Walton"Indigo Buntings" by Dayna Walton (image courtesy of the artist)

Walton will integrate the dyed material into her artistic process, which incorporates different printmaking and patterning techniques.

“I am beyond excited for the change of scenery. The Michigan landscape I was raised in is my main motivation and inspiration for doing any sort of art. I have a feeling that this chance to really focus and get back to my roots will do wonders for my work,” says Walton. “I'm also excited to work and learn with the other fellowship students, to have a productive and helpful community to create in.”

KCAD currently has a consortium with Pierce Cedar Creek Institute that allows students to apply for the fellowship, especially important for those students who are interested in natural science illustration. The environmental education center and biological field station, located on 742 acres in Hastings, Mich., developed the fellowship out of a desire give art students the chance to leverage its resources as inspiration for the creative process.

“It’s a valuable connection for our students to have extended resources with which to educate, inspire, and create artwork while working with others,” says Hart. 

Learn more about KCAD’s Illustration program at kcad.edu/illustration