Elizabeth M. Lockwood
Interior Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Portland
Design is messy, challenging, and very rewarding. Elizabeth M. Lockwood , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Portland
I was always getting in trouble for challenging the status quo. I realized I had a knack for solving complex design challenges—even after being told “no.”
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?
I try to put myself in my students’ place, asking myself what I wish I’d known about my profession before I got into it. What theory could I have used? What resource would’ve been helpful? Then I think about how I can effectively share that knowledge with students.
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?
I love sharing my passion for design with others. I love the iterative process and the endless possibilities. I challenge students to research, investigate, collaborate, and explore every facet of a design so they feel confident that what they’re proposing is well thought out. In Hospitality Design Studio, we work on the technical and collaborative skills needed to be an innovative designer. I use metaphor and storytelling to help deepen students’ knowledge—for example, we do an organizational ball toss exercise where students discover how team members perform in a group project. The metaphor of tossing the ball translates to how team members juggle multiple tasks during a project.
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
I’m a connector. I love linking people and ideas together. When I introduce collaboration to students I begin with this quote from Keith Sawyer: “When we collaborate, creativity unfolds across people; the sparks fly faster and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Collaboration drives creativity because innovation always emerges from a series of sparks—never a single flash of insight.” It’s critical for designers to learn how to work effectively in teams.
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?
Ask questions. Network with peers, faculty, staff, and guest presenters. You never know where a great job will come from. Design is messy, challenging, and very rewarding. You have the opportunity to influence others’ lives with your design.
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?
I get to know my students and help them design their own story. What story do you want to tell? I’m here to listen.
What was the inspiration for your artwork?
The design investigates a balance between modern Pacific Northwest aesthetics and the essence of how a building can nurture a valuable quality of life for a family.
The residence capitalizes on the natural landscape to sustain resources. Horizontal planes extend the eye revealing framed views evoking passive building strategies and creating a place of comfort and refuge.
Please explain what we are seeing in your pieces.
2,300 square foot new residence in Clackamas County, including a topographic site plan, first and second floor plan, and building section exploring solar orientation exposure.
How can people find out more about you and your artwork?