Former Graphic Design Fellow Reflects on What it Means to be Part of the Taliesin Community
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Jul 19, 2021
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation 2020-2021 Graphic Design Fellow, Rachel Minier shares her experiences at Taliesin West.
What have been a couple of your favorite projects you’ve worked on during your time at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation?
One of my favorites has to be working on the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly magazine. Each issue presented different opportunities for historical research and expanding my skills as a designer, from exploring ideas like representing three dimensions in a two-dimensional medium to improving my abilities in illustration.
Another would be doing the branding for Camp Taliesin West. I wanted to pair the geometric and gridded design of Frank Lloyd Wright with a nostalgic nod to 1970s camp aesthetic and a celebration of the desert. I had such a great time working out what form that should take and creating the cast of animal characters for each section of camp that’s offered.
What was your favorite spot at Taliesin West to go to [take a breather]?
Taliesin West sits on a sizeable piece of land which makes for endless opportunities for exploration, not only in the main campus or what we call the “historic core,” but all over the property. It became a ritual for me to walk a loop through the desert at least once a day, and when the weather was especially pleasant, I was often out there in both the morning and evening. It’s one of those places where you’ll continue to find something new with every visit and made me feel more connected to the long history of the site
What are some of the things you learned during your time at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation?
The main thing I learned (and am still learning) is more about the rich history of the space and the many people who have been a part of it. I think when most people think of Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin West they think of architecture (as they should!) but may not know the many other art and design practices that also flourished there. Graphic design, ceramics, music, theatre … Taliesin West was and is a place where creativity abounds. Getting to delve into the history of women at Taliesin West as curated by Indira Berndtson in the most recent Quarterly magazine was especially wonderful.
Do you have a favorite memory during your time at Taliesin West?
I have an abundance of great memories from my time living on campus and those that are sticking out to me at the moment are the ones that involve simply living in a community. Eating together in the dining room over candles and flower arrangements or having movie nights in the cabaret – essentially being able to use the spaces as they’ve been used for decades before.
What does it mean to you to have been a Graphic Design Fellow and part of the Taliesin West community?
It was an incredible privilege to live and work at Taliesin West and be a part of the long design legacy that exists there and at Taliesin. By living in the space, existing in it at all times of the day and night, it became and will always be a home to me. And as comfortable as I felt there and as much as I investigated it seemed that there was always something yet to be revealed.
How did being immersed in the word of Frank Lloyd Wright influence you as a designer, both professionally and personally?
Being immersed in Wright’s work was a daily inspiration. If I ever felt stuck on a project I could simply wander around, leaf through some of his drawings in our books, or look at historical photos and suddenly have an idea to work with. Additionally, being surrounded by nature rather than removed from it was a great source of inspiration and well-being.
Do you have any favorite details you’ve noticed at Taliesin West?
Like many people I think the use of light and shadow and how it changes throughout the day is a favorite detail of mine. The pergola is one example, and also watching the sun move within spaces like the garden room and the drafting studio.
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Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation members receive the Quarterly as part of their membership benefits. The Quarterly offers readers an innovative look into the past, present, and future of Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy through thoughtful graphic and written explorations of the legendary architect’s work and the community it has created.