Life Of Lynn: Summer Textile Exploration Program at NC State University

Hello readers! I am back again with the second half of my time at the STEP program at NC State University! This is going to cover Wednesday through Friday. Lots of exciting things happened, so let’s get on with the show!

On Wednesday, our first session was about scholarships and careers for the College of Textiles at NC State. It was a fantastic session! It really gives an insight into paying for college these days and that it is in fact possible to go to school affordably! After that, there was a session called “Where Are They Now” where one of the graduates of the STEP Program and the College of Textiles came and spoke to us about all the wonderful opportunities she had since graduating from NC State! When you hear a list of majors, it can be difficult to imagine what you can really do with that once you graduate. So, this session was so helpful in getting to know what you can really accomplish with all the gleaned knowledge (and quite a lot of passion, might I add).

IMG_5242

After a quick break for lunch, we continued to work on our projects! This was a really interesting day. By this point, we were finishing up our designs, so it was time to start converting that into weaving format for the weaving machine! First, I had to pick out colors from the weave blanket and coordinate that to certain parts of my design. Then, we used a CAD software to structure the weave of our fabric so it would process through the machine correctly. There were a lot of steps and bits to getting this correct, so I took some pictures to document!

Following the conclusion of projects for the day, we were surprised with a scavenger hunt by our camp leaders! We were given clues of where to go and took pictures as we went along! Unfortunately…our group did not make it to many places. Whoops! But, we did have a lot of fun before we reached our conclusion!

As another surprise, the conclusion of the scavenger hunt was at the freedom of expression tunnel! This is a place where people are free to spray paint whatever they want as they see fit! We were given some cans of spray paint and went at it! I had never used spray paint before, so it was quite interesting but a good time regardless! I could describe it all day, but I think the fun is best demonstrated in photos!

After that, we had a dinner at La Rancherita ad went back to the dorms for a bit! Some of my favorite moments were hanging out and talking with my new best friends Lillian and Sophia; they were so wonderful and we had a great time together. But, the city exploring was not over yet! We made a trip to Insomia Cookies, where you can get cookies until about 4 in the morning (we went at about 10, don’t worry)! It smelled so nice in there, I can’t even describe it! Also, (inside joke) that red light never changed, I swear.

When I woke up on Thursday, I knew it was my last full day of camp! It made my heart a bit heavy, but I was ready for a good day. This day was a bit different because we took a field trip to Glen Raven, a fabric manufacturing company based in North Carolina. They have some wonderful things going on there! I had never been exposed to much in the textile industry, but everyone was so welcoming and wonderful. We saw in progress designs and swatches, met and talked to people in the industry, and got to touch fabric samples. To top it all off, we got to visit the Glen Raven factory (the first ever STEP group to do so!) and see how fibers were spun into yarn to make the fabric we wear and use on a daily basis. It was an awe inspiring and education filled experience. I loved every second!

On the way back to State, we stopped for lunch and then headed straight back to project groups! This day was my favorite part of project groups because I actually got to weave my fabric! I was over the moon! After entering in my downloaded design, I got watch the weaving machine work its magic and create my fabric. It really is magic; you’re watching yarns in different colors be woven and layered to create a fabric you designed with your own two hands! It was indescribable, and I absolutely loved the finished result!

With our final afternoon project group completed, we spent the rest of the evening eating dinner and preparing for the travel day ahead. There was packing, number exchanging, a few primary tears shed, and overall, good memories. I hugged all my newfound friends goodnight before heading off to bed for my final night at NC State.

The next morning was a bit of a blur. I threw together what was left of my bag, said goodbye to my roommate, and took a few final pictures before lugging my whole suitcase downstairs to head to the convocation center for presentations.

state dorm

After organizing all my possessions (in heels I should also point out), I traveled to the ILab for the last time to sew my pillow together and work on our group presentation. Time seemed to fly by! Before I knew it, it was time to meet my parents downstairs and start group presentations. Everyone’s projects that they worked on this week were absolutely amazing. I enjoyed hearing about everything from chemistry and color to engineering and boat making to the refashionistas! Speaking in front of the College of Textiles and NC State was an experience I’ll never forget. It is probably the closest I will come to a runway show, and I am still so proud of everything I accomplished that week!

NC State STEP

As a closing to this post, I just want to thank everyone involved in planning STEP at NC State. Everyone was welcoming, kind, and able to answer all my questions. It gave me a look at textiles that I had never seen before. Allie, Tim, Kent, and all the staff were wonderful. Every professor was passionate and ready to teach something to the next generation of people in this industry. Finally, I want to thank all the friends I made, but especially Sophia and Lillian, who are pictured above. This week wouldn’t have been what it was without you. I love you both so much ❤

Well, that’s the end for STEP 2016! Thank you for joining me on this. Next week, I’ll be documenting my experience as a junior counselor at Columbia College! Until next time!

Sincerely mine,

Mackenzie

PS: Go Wolfpack!

 

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