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Posts tagged ‘mark bieraugel’

Kennedy Library is an open education library

Kennedy Library recently introduced OATS (Open Access to Textbooks for Students). For more about how students can use OATS for their success, please see this Q and A.

The rising cost of textbooks is no secret; it affects every Cal Poly student who shells out $200+ a quarter on books they may not use after their 10-week course (I mean, I loved oceanography, but that book is just getting dusty on my shelf now).

Kennedy Library is working to change that, and decrease the cost of education through a series of new affordable learning solutions being implemented this fall. The library is also committed to inclusive access for the future, which is why they have made an open education librarian position dedicated to open and affordable education.

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Jacks of all trades: Librarians awarded for outstanding partnership

Architecture Librarian, Jesse Vestermark and Business Librarian, Mark Bieraugel were awarded “Outstanding Faculty Partner” by the Living Learning Program and University Housing. Mark received an additional award of “Overall Faculty Scholar of the Year.” The awards were given based on the librarians’ involvement with their corresponding dorm to the college they serve, Sequoia Hall and Tenaya Hall, respectively.

Awarded for excellence
Photo of Jesse with awardWatercolor is what pooled around the heart of Jesse’s (right) accomplishment. He went into the dorms after work hours to run watercolor workshops for Sequoia residents and also ran an image-searching workshop for students to contribute to their academic success. “It’s about creating an opportunity for people to meet. I saw people shaking hands and meeting at the watercolor sessions, and they live in the same dorm!” Jesse said with a smile. He was nominated by Mike Johnson, a Resident Advisor in Sequoia. Mike expressed that Jesse’s work in the dorm will live on for first year students, helping them in their college livelihood and eventually their future careers.

Mark (top photo) was nominated by Arash Namvar, a Resident Advisor in Tenaya Hall. He nominated Mark for his positive impact on the Tenaya community since Mark initiated separate meetings with the Tenaya Coordinator of Student Development (CSD), Resident Advisors, and Hall Council to discuss how he could assist students best. It was because of his participation in the Hall’s leadership that led to his role in Tenaya’s “Silent Library” game. Mark played the part of the librarian, “shushing” students as they had to complete certain tasks silently. It was a blast for everyone and Mark was initiated into the Tenaya community. “My goal is for them to know me before they need me,” Mark explained.

Working and playing

Providing a non-academic workshop is important to Jesse because he wants to offer architecture students more opportunities to experiment with the visual arts. The “hang back time” is when students are most relaxed and can really learn. He said, “I learned by watching the department chairs working with students, how to make a warm feeling of community.”

Mark thinks that it’s important to hold events such as “Silent Library” in a non-academic setting because “you start seeing each other as human beings.” For Mark, it is really about making an effort to meet students where they are.

Looking forward

As the librarians reflect on the past year, they are also planning for what is to come next fall. Jesse wants to hold more watercolor workshops and maybe introduce other media, subject-matter or maybe even a mini field trip to the Cal Poly Arboretum, and keep in touch with those who took it as freshman.

Next year Mark wants to go beyond the freshman dorm and keep in contact with the students he formed relationships with this year. “I think it would be fun to do something like ‘cooking to impress your boss’… something like that.” He still wants to be in the freshman dorms and make connections with freshman, but he wants to see what other needs should be met, too. He is excited about next year and having a better understanding of incoming freshman, opposed to this last year where he was thrown head first into WOW week as a new member of the Cal Poly community. “My goal is to brand myself and say ‘This is who I am, and this is what I do’.”

Read more about Jesse’s watercolor workshops.
See Mark’s six hand-stitched colleges.

– Jordan Hooper

Business librarian hand-stitches six colleges

Mark Bieraugel, Cal Poly’s new business librarian, stitched six funny, insightful and detailed pieces inspired by the six colleges at Cal Poly. Look closely at the fabric and thread – there is a lot of humor, content and meaning stitched into each one on display in the nook near Julian’s on the second floor. I’ve been over a few times and keep discovering something new and clever with each visit. There is Lady Gaga in a Twitter stream with Plato (who was just re-tweeting Socrates anyway). Then there’s the electroluminescent wire which blinks and flashes like a petite neon sign (admittedly I noticed that on my first time). Mark found inspiration for his needlework in his new professional reality at Cal Poly and in unexpected places…

Mark with exhibit

What inspired you to do this project and how did your first few months here inform your work?
I was so happy to work at Kennedy Library I wanted to do something for Cal Poly. I created one piece of artwork for each of the six colleges. To get ideas for the pieces I visited Kennedy Library’s Special Collections and looked at vintage pictures of Cal Poly. Seeing photos from the 1930s accounting classes inspired the Orfalea College of Business piece (top photo). The piece “Big Data” is based on accountants still doing much of the same thing today, crunching numbers, although they don’t use big adding machines with paper spewing out of them.

How did you dream up the ideas you depicted? Twitter stitching detail
Creating art can sometimes be seen as solving a problem. Creating a single piece of art to represent a whole college, say liberal studies, was a real problem but a fun challenge. For liberal studies I love the idea of a conversation across time, how great minds respond to earlier voices, and talk back to them. I toyed with a bunch of ideas, but none seemed to catch fire. After months of working on it off and on I was very frustrated. Then I had an idea: what is Twitter but a massive conversation? And this led to me think, what if there was Twitter over the past 2,700 years? And who would tweet? (see above detail)

College of Engineering Baby QuiltFor engineering (left) I wanted to represent all of the different types of engineering here at Cal Poly, but in a light-hearted way, so why not a baby quilt? But a baby quilt with a stitched Jarvik artificial heart, a fullerene, and Ohm’s Law done all in baby eye friendly red, blue, and silver thread.

I love the Twitter feed! What are a few of your favorite elements of that piece?
I love putting subtle and almost hidden things in my pieces. Sappho has traditionally been associated with violets, so her icon is that flower. Shakepeare’s icon is an ambigram of ‘short shift’ from artist Mike Wallace, it looks like one word but is actually both words. Faith Ringgold is a wonderful contemporary artist who works in textiles and creates amazing painted story quilts. And Lady Gaga, the person currently with the most Twitter followers, had to have a voice in my piece.

The piece for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design reflects an understanding of the natural world that strikes me as close to your heart. Can you say more about what’s going on there?
For this college (below) I really tapped into my own personal interests. I love paper, and it seemed right to create a sort of blueprint. The Fibonacci sequence, which is a series of numbers added to itself, fascinates me, and is related to the golden spiral and the rectangles for each ‘room’ in my dream house. Lazarus taxa, which are plants and animals thought extinct then rediscovered comprise the landscape surrounding my dream home. The idea that something is lost, such as a tree species, than found again, strikes me as amazing.College of Architecture stitched

What do you like best about stitching?

I like that the combination of fabric and thread, or paper and thread, have dimension – the thread raises off of the surface. And that we all know fabric, we wear it every day, it is familiar and we feel it against our skin.

How is this series different than what you’ve done in the past?
For each of the six pieces I forced myself to create pieces which were bold and almost sculptural. The pieces are huge for hand embroidered pieces, some are two feet wide and a foot tall. And one used very cool technology. For the science and mathematics piece (detail below) I used electroluminescent wire to show the bioluminescence of the creatures, the piece glows and blinks. For business it was the use of ribbons, cascading “paper” streaming down to the floor. For agriculture I used wooden embroidery hoops masquerading as pig, rabbits, and chicken eggs. The Twitter piece is like a scroll, but on linen instead of papyrus or paper. And for architecture the piece is hand stitched entirely on dark blue paper with white thread.

Detail of Science and Math Stitching

What are you currently working on?
I really want to hand embroider a life-sized coelacanth, a six foot long deep-water fish with a fascinating history. Actually, I want to embroider two of these fish as there are two species of coelacanths, a blue one and a glorious gold one. So one coelacanth in various blue threads and one in all in metallic gold threads.

Anything else we should know?

For the agriculture piece in the show look closely around the pig for a series of letters. There is a clue to what is spelled in the title of this artwork (click below for full image).
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You have to see Mark’s work in person to appreciate the detail and thoughtfulness. Check it out on the second floor of the library by June 8!

See more images of the six colleges on Kennedy Library’s Flickr.
Check out Mark’s art on his Flickr.
College of Agriculture stitching

– Karen Lauritsen