Kris Tremain, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout majoring in industrial design, won a NASA logo design contest this summer.

In honor of the 30th year of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (a NASA-based group aimed at supporting opportunities for college students studying science and engineering), a call was put out to design a new logo.

Tremain’s program at Stout has foundational courses in art and design, so when he learned of the opportunity, he set to work on a design. With support and feedback from several professors, Tremain created an award-winning logo.

In July, he was invited to attend the Wisconsin Space Grant consortium in Platteville. Although Tremain knew his design had won, he did not expect to be honored. He was in awe, standing on stage with, as he put it, “literal rocket scientists.”

When Tremain graduated from Mayo High School in 2016, he intended to major in mechanical engineering. After exposure to the elements of industrial design, he selected that major. Although he is leaning toward a career in furniture design, his contact with NASA opened his eyes to other opportunities. He now knows that not all NASA employees are rocket scientists and design students can work there, too.

'I love to make pretty things'

While quilting has a long history in our country, it was during a resurgence of the art in the 1970s when Jamie Kouba, of Byron, was first exposed to quilting.

Her mother taught her to sew at age 8, and she “loved it from the start.” At 13 she made her first quilt as a 4-H project.

Both Kouba and technology have made advancements since the 1970s. Kouba first learned to sew on a treadle machine (which required “rhythmically pumping a foot pedal to drive a belt that makes the needle go up and down,” she said). Her first exposure to the electric sewing machine found Kouba “intimidated by its speed.”

Between 4-H and the county fair, she also found competitions were “a great motivator to keep improving.”

The 21st century finds Kouba utilizing both new technology and traditional hand-sewing techniques. She said, “I do it all. I sew by hand, I use my sewing machine, I use the computer as well as paper and pencil to design, I cut by hand but I also use a digital cutter, I paint on fabric, I color on fabric, I dye fabric.”

As a means of enhancing her skills and motivating herself, Kouba now submits her work to national competitions. This summer she was selected by the American Quilter’s Society (AQS), the largest quilting organization in the world, as a contestant at AQS QuiltWeek in Charleston, S.C. Kouba’s quilt, Sharon’s Stash Dance, will be on display and judged along with entries from around the world.

Closer to home, Kouba is a member to a local quilt guild, Rochester Quilter’s Sew-Ciety, which has an upcoming show at Holy Spirit School, Oct. 18 and 19. She will have four quilts on display.

Quilting can be both functional and an artistic expression. Kouba not only makes traditional quilts, but also clothing, pillows, and wall-hangings. Kouba said, “I love so many types of sewing and textile work … I’m not a trained artist, but I love to make pretty things. And I love to learn.”

Colleen Timimi is a Rochester freelance writer. Seen & Heard highlights local people with interesting stories. Send tips to life@postbulletin.com.

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