Laura M. May, FIIDA, LEED AP

Interior Design

Adjunct Instructor for Interior Design & Culinary Arts
The Art Institute of Atlanta

Laura M. May, FIIDA, LEED AP, Adjunct Instructor

Being able to share what I know about the design of food service facilities is very rewarding. Laura May , Adjunct Instructor for Interior Design & Culinary Arts , The Art Institute of Atlanta

What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

As a child I received Awards for my sketching talent and the encouragement received from parents, family members and teachers.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

Telling stories is the oldest form of teaching to others. During the lesson if there is an experience I had whether it was positive or not I share the story with the students. It never fails that the class is more attentive with sharing lessons learned.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

The Culinary Class for Facilities Design and Management starts out with an exercise to determine the size of certain spaces without a tape measure. It is also a competition for the whole class.

The students at first look at me like a deer standing in the headlights when the assignment is given. 

Within minutes I enjoy seeing how each person/ team is challenged and how they actually understand space so much more than they thought. 

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

Collaboration is an important part of growth for us all. When transfer students share their learning experiences we all gain. The experience of our Veteran students is also very valuable since most of them have traveled throughout the world.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

Bestow confidence in them and for them to listen and to ask questions.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

It is so true that we learn much from our students. I bring to them over 40 years of professional practice in the Interior Design profession. Being able to share what I know about the design of food service facilities is very rewarding.

As the students become more confident in the understanding of the flow and layout of a restaurant design I can see how they have grown in a matter of weeks. It is most fun to teach culinary students on how to use an architectural scale. They learn to draw to scale and understand there are different scales. The also learn to understand construction drawings. Yes, their understanding is very basic, however enough for them to ask questions.

What was the inspiration for your artwork?

I like to work with form and scale.

As an interior designer I work with creating the interior space that surrounds us. Working with the scale that relates to human scale can be defined in a moment of inches or to grand spaces that are awe-inspiring.

The creation of a basket/ vessel is surrounding smaller spaces that can hold items. A basket/ vessel is something that can be hugged, where as a properly done interior can hug its occupants.

Please explain what we are seeing in your pieces.

The baskets are made from reed and the technique is called “free-forming.”

Reed is very flexible and durable natural material that can survive years of use.

The basket is a very early tool that allowed for the gathering of berries. At first it is thought a large leaf may have assisted in holding items until someone realized weaving of different natural fibers can make a lightweight and strong vessel.

How can people find out more about you and your artwork?

Facebook page  -  MayByours