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As the spring semester draws to a close (hallelujah!) I find myself reflecting on how my views have changed over the past year. I marvel at how quickly I adjusted, or rather, accommodated. Made do.

Last year around this time, I was utterly exhausted, wondering how I was going to teach 3D online, or even survive, as the pandemic overtook us.

I knew if I was feeling this way, others were, too. So many talked about it on social media and an amazing (huge) community sprang up to support each other. I don't know how, but we can do this, we said. And, we did.

One way my teaching changed was in the scale and duration of projects. I taught fully online all year and students didn't have 'normal' access to materials, tools, or large spaces for working. So, we went small. Tiny, even. Doggone, it was so much fun! And doable. Not overwhelming. Thank goodness.

With my Viewfinding project, we head towards microscopic (that may be next). Students frame views through little keychain viewers. They pay close attention to details (scale, texture, color) as they layer and compose miniature installations based on the blurry scenes they find through the viewer's lens. Abstraction in action!

Meredith Starr’s Stereograph project also asks students to shift their perspectives. They practice color mixing, color matching, and duplicating shapes. Successful diptychs pop from 2D to 3D when the nearly identical images are ever-so-slightly altered.

As travel souvenirs, keychain viewers and stereographs hold distant pasts and hopeful futures visiting faraway people and places. Both projects also make connections between analog and digital technology. For instance, stereographs are a precursor to Virtual Reality. The visual dissonance between the first and second images is how our brains build virtual 3D worlds.

These projects embrace this shift, this dissonance. We reconfigure and readjust to the blur, which is a good metaphor for life lately.


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