architecture student on a discovery via north dakota


Unit 3 Portfolio

Portfolio 3 Final


Advanced Printmaking: Woodcut: The Deadly Blue Ringed Octopus Lady

This semester, I enrolled in an advanced printmaking class focusing on woodcut taught by Jason Moore at NDSU.  We have two woodcut projects this semester.  The first is going to be displayed at the Plains Art Museum with MSUM and NDSU printmaking students. The Plains Art Museum (in downtown Fargo, ND) requested that all students incorporate a chosen theme: Flooding or Flood Prevention.  I was instantly inspired by a documentary I recently watched called Deadly Dozen where they featured the deadly Blue-Ringed Octopus- a fascinating creature.  I was captivated by the creature’s defense mechanisms and the colors it was able to produce when threatened.

In my last printmaking class, I used vintage advertising as the overall theme of 5 different prints.  Some of the images included pin ups, animals and somewhat humorous alterations to typical advertising.  I am still very much influenced by many of these ideas.

Fargo is a city known for flooding and this topic is common in projects.  When we were given this theme,  I wanted to question the topic of flood and flood prevention to see how I could put my own twist to it in my woodcut.

The final drawing came to be a woman morphing into a Blue-Ringed Octopus.  Instead of trying to adapt the flooding to our needs and contain it with sandbags, this print shows the human adapting to the desires of nature and it’s surroundings, morphing into a creature that can coincide with the temperament of flooding.  An octopus, or course, has 8 legs but the Octolady here has 6 full tentacles, two that have been removed or seemingly cut off.  This is to show a complete difference in the upper half of the body being like a human and the bottom half fully transformed into an octopus.

The shadow adds depth to the image but also could be interpreted as the ink that the octopus dispenses when feeling threatened.  Instead of having the Octopus residing in water, water is contained in a bottle sitting on her neck as a head.  This shows peace in her mind or even a memory when the Octolady is showing many signs of feeling threatened.  The background shows corrosion or rust that occurs from time or too much water.

The colors were simply chosen from the colors of the Blue-Ringed Octopus (Orange, Yellow, Blue, Black and Brown). The background color was chosen because of its similarity to the color of the paper and the contrast to the other colors in the foreground.

The project was both a physical process and mental development with ideas.  I can’t say that I knew all of this information right away when creating it; rather I tried to leave some decisions up to intuition and impulse, therefore, the outcomes presented itself to me through the process of carving, etching, and printing.

More information on the deadly Blue-Ringed Octopus:

The first image shows my final sketch for the woodcut. The second image is the inverted template I used in the laser cutter to burn out the crackled and rusted background pattern. The next two images show the laser cutter hard at work.  The fifth image shows the first layer of ink on paper (the rusted pattern from the laser cutter).  The last image shows my second layer of ink, a rainbow roll technique, for the background of the octolady.  The brown spots towards the top of the last image are parts of the ship in the bottle and the cork in the bottle. The next image shows the detail in the tentacles in the burnt orange color and a magenta flag of the ship in the bottle.  Next is the  blue rings of the octopus and the water contained in the bottle.  Last, is the black ink that is the outlines, the shadows, the cross-hatching, and bottle shape.

Part of the assignment was to use the laser cuter for one part of the woodcut.  The rest of the images are carved by hand with woodcutting tools.

Printmaking is an incredible class to take at NDSU.  We have incredible facilities for many processes of printing.  It takes us back to how advertising was originally done and there’s nothing more rewarding than using   your hands, sweat and sometimes blood to create something.  I would recommend this class to everyone!

I’ll keep you posted on further developments! Thanks for taking a look!

Agincourt Crematorium

My studio professor, Ronald Ramsay, mentioned me in one of his blog posts for our project. Take a look! Any suggestions on design would be helpful!

Here’s the link:

Peer Review

Hey Megan!

I looked at your resume and cover letter and thought that they were shining.  I wouldn’t change a thing about them.  So on to your professionalization memo.  Perhaps something that would be good to talk about is what you found out about yourself when searching Google anonymously.  It may be surprising what you may or may not find.  Things such as NDSU information and newspaper articles will often pop up and if it’s something that you want to be known, it’s a good idea to try and link to it somehow so google can index them better to get them to the top of the search list.

Other than that I can’t think of much else to add, I had problems adding to mine as well…

Great job, keep up the good work!


-Matt Qual


The theme for my prints above was my own twist on vintage advertising.


Project One: To Die Will Be An Awfully Big Adventure

11×15 Black and White Relief (Sintra Board)

Project Two: Smokey says, “Be Happy, Go Lucky”

11×15 Aluminum Plate Lithography

Project Three: Catastrophe and the Cure

10×13 Drypoint Intaglio

Project Four: Kids Will Be Skeletons

11×15 Black and White Serigraph (Screen Print)

Project Five: The Sun Smells Too Loud

11×15 Color Screen Print


Professionalization Memo

To: Steven Hammer and Others

From: Megan Ward

Date: Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Subject: Professionalization Memo

Virtual Media has always been a topic that has kept me at a far distance from technology especially when it comes to my own online presence.  This exploration has been a radical change from my outlook and processes when it comes to architecture.  I have always considered myself to be a very hands-on designer (building physical models, hand-drawings and renderings and sketching).  I’ve come to discover that to be a “hands-on designer” hasn’t meant what I thought it to in the recent past.  Through furthering my online presence as a designer, creation and reflection has given me a chance to reevaluate myself as a designer entirely embracing advancing technology.

This class and it’s particular assignments have almost made me cringe in the fact that I would have to be using the computer and its sources so much.  I’m still hesitant to do this but I’ve also seen, first-hand, the positive effects it’s had in the way perceive myself through the world.  We have to put ourselves in new and sometimes uncomfortable situations to experience all aspects of life and to let adventure sneak it’s way into our journey.

I’ve made an effort to re-evaluate my pre-existing online presence such as Facebook, etc. I most frequently use Facebook to keep contact with close and distant friends and utilize links to certain architectural tools such as ArchDaily and Architectural Record.  I’ve made alterations to my page keeping in the mind the eye of the viewer, especially in a professional manner.

Part of the process of re-evalutating my pre-existing online presence was simply searching my name in Google’s search box.  There is an actress with the same name so my name alone didnt result in finding anything on my online self.  I search “Megan Ward NDSU” and “Megan Ward Fargo”.  Many of the hits that’s were presented were ones of this blog! This was a big surprise to me, that simply tagging words in these posts could make my blog more searchable.  Other findings included deans list records and a concert I had attended.

Twitter and the term “tweeting” were devices that were never of interest to me.  After creating an account and posting a “tweet” or two, I don’t know that my mind has changed on this particular device.  It has linked me to other great accounts such as ArchDaily and Inhabitat but these were sources that I frequent through means other than Twitter.

My WordPress blog and the assignments with it has allowed me to finish projects I have been wanting to have ready for the job field and application process.  The resume and letter of application have been a great help for what is to come in the future.  The blog has allowed me to include many of my projects, essays, and other explorations in a great way.  At the very least, this blog is incredible practice for a professional website.  I now have many handy tools in my belt… ready to use.

Letter of Application

Letter of Application – Olson Kundig Internship Program

Megan Ward

North Dakota State University

Home: 8224 Harrison Rd, Bloomington, MN 55437

Phone: 612-220-9888



11 March 2012

Human Resources/Internship Program

Olson Kundig Architects

159 South Jackson St., Suite 600

Seattle, WA 98104 USA

Dear Human Resources Team/Internship Program of Olson Kundig Architects,

Greetings! I am a fourth year architecture student at North Dakota State University working towards my Masters of Architecture.  I am a strong conceptual thinker and an incredibly passionate and hands-on designer.  I am interested in enhancing my skills and experience in the field by contributing them to your firm in Seattle through the Six-Month Internship Program.  I have long been an admirer of the projects and values of Olson Kundig Architects.

Skills and experience include:

-Experience with a wide range of projects including a High-Rise Competition involving extensive research and design on the history of San Francisco, our particular site, theater acoustics, historical preservation and adaptive reuse.  Second, a project including the research and design for an abandoned Shaker barn in Mount Lebanon, New York. This project is an adaptive reuse and historically preserved barn integrating programs for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Summer Music Festival

-Experience working with multiple ranges of software and communications including Adobe    Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, Autodesk: Revit Architecture, Google Sketchup Pro, Microsoft Office Suites, and Laser Cutter Certification

-Experience in team projects and collaboration with faculty and students such as jobs as teaching assistants for second year architecture studios.  These studios have focused on physical model building, hand drawings, and narrative/artefact creation.  It has allowed me to take leadership roles in projects, to provide advice and ideas, and has helped reinforce the strength in hands-on design processes

I am extremely excited about future opportunities to contribute my skills and abilities to your ever growing firm.  I would be pleased to meet in person to discuss my background in relation to the needs of your organization. Please call or email anytime for any further information required. Thank you so much for your time!


Megan Ward

Download: Megan Ward Letter of Application