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Design


Expo Profile: designer Sarah Xanthakis

: Video by Mark Bocek.

Expo Profile: designer Sarah Xanthakis

: Senior design student Sarah Xanthakis and her nature publication prepared for EXPO 14 Design Exhibition, "The Burrow". Photo by Mark Bocek.

Expo Profile: designer Sarah Xanthakis

: Sarah Xanthakis and her nature publication, "The Burrow". Photo by Mark Bocek.

Expo Profile: designer Sarah Xanthakis

: Sarah's plot for her space at the exhibition. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Expo Profile: designer Sarah Xanthakis

: Sarah Xanthakis and her nature publication, "The Burrow". Photo by Mark Bocek.

Expo Profile: designer Sarah Xanthakis

: Sarah Xanthakis and her leaf identification cards. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Expo Profile: designer Sarah Xanthakis

: Sarah Xanthakis (DE'14) in the senior design studio at Cornish. Photo by Mark Bocek.

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Nature magazine, leaf cards, walks in the woods — Sarah Xanthakis roots her design practice in the natural world.

Maybe you’d call it design in the slow lane. Unlike many young designers who have their eyes on the many incredible tech-savvy firms that dot Seattle, Sarah Xanthakis (DE ’14) wants her practice to be close to nature. While many of her classmates are getting computer-based projects ready for the EXPO Design BFA Exhibition, Sarah is preparing a nature magazine prototype — The Burrow — along with leaf identification cards and plant specimens. She sees her design work being useful whether you are sitting in an urban apartment or standing on a trail deep in the woods, two worlds she knows well.  Her love of cataloguing nature just might be inherited. Sarah’s father is a nature illustrator known particularly for his drawings of sea creatures. He taught her to paint, but her favorite medium is charcoal.

“I’m almost the opposite of what a designer really is — or is viewed as,” Xanthakis says in her EXPO Profile video. “Like working in an office building surrounded by professionals, things like that. But all I want to do is work from a cabin in the middle of nowhere.” Pressed on her choice of such an urban campus as Cornish, she admits that she sees herself having a foot in both worlds. Though Cornish is downtown, Sarah has often gotten out of the city. “Nature is so close,” she says of the Seattle area.

Xanthakis went to high school at Bishop Garcia Diego High School, then stayed home for her first year of college, matriculating at Santa Barbara City College. She says she talked to almost no one during the year she was there. Transferring to Cornish, she had the opposite experience. “The connections [I] made here really surprised me,” says Sarah. “Teachers make you feel like you can call on them any time.” Sarah says she is amazed at how effortlessly she fell into friendships with the other young designers in her class when she arrived at Cornish, something she hadn’t thought much about until now.  Getting ready to graduate, she admits, “It’s hard to imagine not seeing them every day.”


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