Francis D.K. Ching

Geometry, Grammar, and Einstein: Early Influences on My Work
This presentation will reflect on 40 years of Frank Ching writing and illustrating texts, and in the process, he will attempt to explain how certain guiding principles were forged early on and endured even as he embraced digital technology and techniques in his work. This reflection will document and illustrate stories behind the production of several of his projects, which cannot always be seen, known, or understood simply by looking at the final printed pages of a book. His hope is that these stories will illuminate some of the lessons he learned earlier in life and clues of which lie in the title—Geometry, Grammar, and Einstein.

Frank Ching is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington. Although retired from active teaching, Professor Ching continues to write, draw, and offer workshops both in the U.S. and internationally. Professor Ching’s publications, which focus on clarifying and communicating architectural elements, principles, and relationships, include Architectural Graphics; Building Construction Illustrated; and Architecture: Form, Space & Order, among several more. He is currently preparing the second edition of Green Building Illustrated with Ian Shapiro. Professor Ching was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Design from The Nottingham Trent University; a Citation for Excellence in International Architecture Book Publishing; an AIA Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement; and a National Design Award, Special Jury Commendation, from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Learn more about Ching’s work here.

Jamie Fassett-Carman and Mark Larson

Interactive Design of Puzzles and Escape Rooms
This presentation will describe the process for creating puzzles and escape rooms, from concept and design to execution and testing. The speakers will discuss the unique design considerations inherent to interactive installation designs like escape rooms. The talk will explore the evolving nature of the escape room industry and examine how escape room designs have changed and morphed in recent years. 

Jamie Fassett-Carman and Mark Larson bring years of experience in designing and executing puzzle events both in the Twin Cities and throughout the world. Jamie started Trapped Puzzle Rooms five years ago as one of the first escape rooms in the Twin Cities, and Mark has worked in escape rooms for the past three years. They have both designed interactive puzzle experiences across the United States as well as internationally.

Matt Jenkins

Matt Jenkins is dedicated to designing and forging highly crafted work. For 25 years, he has honed his skills and learned traditional blacksmith techniques while studying with master smiths around the world. He has placed twice at the World Forging Championship in Stia, Italy, and in 2016 he carried out a yearlong project where he designed and forged a different style hook every day during 2016. Between hammering on custom projects in his shop located just north of Winnipeg, Matt leads workshops and demonstrates the ancient craft of blacksmithing across North America.



Kevin Johnson

Applications and Discoveries from 3D Printing
This presentation will give a brief overview of 3D printing technologies, the wide range of technologies available, and highlight their strengths and limitations. The presentation will look at how to match the application to the technology and when the choice is best to use conventional methods. Kevin will briefly cover some of the technical successes Skunkworks has made possible and will display some of his own designs optimized for 3d printing and share the resulting discoveries.

Kevin Johnson is a research fellow for Stratasys, the world leader in 3d printing. He studied math and physics at Luther College and mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota. He has a long history of invention and a passion for design. Pushing for excellent usefulness and design has become typical throughout his career. His professional journey can be roughly divided into three parts. He started working in a series of biomed startups designing medical devices to treat coronary disease and a variety of other ailments. Next, Kevin shifted his attention to product design consulting ranging from wearable computers to welding helmets, from baby bottles to barcode scanners. He then joined Stratasys, an off-campus research and design center tasked with pushing technical boundaries and improving user experience. 

Kathy McTavish

webs, embodiment & time
This talk will untangle some of the ways that time informs the creative process. As a time-based artist / composer, Kathy will talk about the use of time as material in her own work and will talk about how she sees time playing a critical role in the work of artists, writers, performers across a wide range of disciplines. The talk will examine the many ways artists represent time, enact time, imprint time, record time, mark time. We will also explore the organic intelligence of networked, multithreaded, polyphonic systems ::: the embodied web ::: the beauty of open, dynamic, interconnected forms.

Kathy McTavish is a media composer and installation artist. In live performance, installation and online environments, she blends found sound, text, data, and abstract, layered, moving images. She uses generative methods for building networked, multichannel video, and sound environments—cross-sensory, polyphonic landscapes which flow from the digital web into physical spaces. Kathy has a background in cello performance, mathematics, ecology, music theory, and code. The confluence of these disciplines informs her work as a composer and multimedia artist. Her current work explores the porous, intimate boundaries between humans and machines ::: the erotic dynamics of tapping glass ::: the carbon cycle ::: the cyborg body ::: the fragile electric body ::: the resistance cyborg ::: the networked, digital hive mind ::: the swarm. She is the recipient of numerous commissions, grants, fellowships, and residencies from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, American Composers Foundation, Walker Art Center, Northern Lights.mn, Tweed Museum of Art, Zeitgeist New Music Quartet, Bell Museum of Natural History, among many more.

Lucia Watson

Lucia Watson will present five 15-minute presentations of her life as a chef, entrepreneur, and author. She is the chef, founder, and creator of Lucia’s Restaurant, Wine Bar and To Go. Lucia’s Restaurant opened in 1985 in one of Minneapolis’s oldest neighborhoods. Lucia, a third generation Minnesotan, learned to cook from her grandmother, Lulu, who used to pick blueberries and bake bread in a wood stove at the family’s summer cabin on the Canadian border. Lucia is the author of Cooking Freshwater Fish and a co-author of Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland with writer Beth Dooley. In 2004, 2005, and 2006 she was nominated for Best Midwest Chef by the James Beard Foundation. In 2009 Lucia was knighted by the French Government and awarded a “Chevalier du Merit Agricole” for her work in agriculture. Now retired, Lucia serves on three boards: Women Winning, the Raptor Center, and the Nature Conservancy. 

Check out past Lake Superior Design Retreat speakers here.