Roanoke senior lands art fellowship for eco-friendly printmaking work

Hailey Doss, a Roanoke College senior, recently won a fellowship that will fuel her passion for art.

The art major from Rocky Mount, Va., won the prestigious Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Visual Arts Fellowship, a $6,000 award, for work that she had done as part of an honors project through Roanoke's art department.

The project, which Doss has been working on for more than a year, is a study in printmaking and Appalachian botany. Doss submitted eight pieces of her printmaking work to the VMFA, and she was one of five applicants selected for the award in the graduate students' division for visual art.

The award is given to undergraduate and rising graduate students and professional artists who are Virginia residents and display a high level of artistic merit.

Elizabeth Heil, who is Doss' advisor and a printmaking instructor at Roanoke, encouraged Doss to apply for the fellowship.

"This award will open doors for Doss as she continues her interest in the production of works of art and the outdoors as subject matter [and] will allow her to focus on the possibilities of continued education and production," Heil said.

Doss uses an eco-friendly form of printmaking to make all of her artwork. She starts by using non-toxic inks and materials as well as salvaged goods and recycled papers. She uses a variety of techniques to create her prints, including making etchings into a metal plate with a sharp tool, and then dropping the plate in acid. This causes ink to catch onto the plate in different degrees to create rich, vibrant colors. Doss also uses a technique known as monoprinting, where she paints directly onto plexiglass to create unique patterns, textures and images.

Then, she prints her designs onto paper by sending them through a printing press. For Doss' work, she also often marbles her paper, meaning she floats patterns and designs on top of water and uses her printing paper to absorb the patterns. This gives her paper a more complex, layered look. Doss also inks and presses the plants she collects directly onto her artwork.

Doss said she enjoys combining art and botany, because it allows her to "take average plants and make them seem beautiful."

"It is memorializing or giving a permanent image to a very temporary object," she said.

This project also gave Doss the chance to explore her two passions: art and the outdoors. She heads Roanoke College's Outdoor Adventures Program as a senior student lead guide, and she has spent her time at Roanoke taking advantage of every opportunity to be outside and enjoy the Roanoke Valley's beautiful landscape.

Doss plans to attend Appalachian State University, Oklahoma State University or the University of Texas at Austin next year for graduate school. She wants to earn her master's degree in Campus Recreation through a graduate assistantship program, and then use the grant she has received from VMFA to attend an art program next summer between school semesters.

"A professor at an undergraduate institution looks forward [to] mentoring such an exceptional individual with focused curiosity, strong work ethic...and persistence in attaining their goals," Heil said. "Hailey is a unique individual with a promising future."

About the Author

Alex DeLaricheliere, a Roanoke College student from Boston, is a Sociology major with a minor in Foreign Politics and a concentration in Anthropology. She is a student writer for Roanoke's Public Relations office, and she is involved with several campus organizations, including Chi Omega and the Student Government Association.

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