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Arlington student's tartan to mark UNT's 125th anniversary

Casey Heidt tartan winnerwinning tartanWhen senior Casey Heidt began designing a tartan — a design for weaving that consists of two or more alternating colored stripes that intersect vertically and horizontally to form a repeated checkered pattern — to mark UNT’s 125th anniversary in 2015, she looked to the campus’ location in Denton for inspiration.

The pattern, right, is a double-layered map of the campus, with one map featuring UNT’s Hurley Administration Building in the center, outlined in black. The thick white lines represent north-south streets such as Hickory Street and the thin black lines are the east-west streets, including Mulberry Street. The other map represents the city of Denton with the downtown square — the location of the first campus — in the center.

Heidt’s design was selected in an online vote to be sent to the Scottish Register of Tartans in Edinburgh for consideration as UNT’s official tartan. The UNT Foundation, which supports the university through the stewardship and acquisition of financial resources, will cover the cost of registry of Heidt’s design as its contribution to UNT’s 125th anniversary celebration.

In September 1890, the first classes for what would become the University of North Texas were held on the second floor of a hardware store on Denton’s town square. First known as the Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute, the university underwent six name changes, receiving its current name in 1988.

Heidt and 16 other students in the Advanced Weaving class in UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design created tartan designs using computer software. All of the designs incorporated UNT’s official shade of green as well as black and white, and the students could also include complementary shades of green.

The class, taught by Lesli Robertson, UNT lecturer in studio arts, studied Scotland’s clans and their distinctive tartans, and the weaving process, before starting to create their own designs.

Each student presented a design before a committee of judges on April 2. The committee selected three finalist designs for the online vote.

“I did a lot of research on UNT and on tartans in general before I started creating designs,” said Heidt, who estimated that she made 25 designs before deciding on the one she presented to the committee. “I was excited because this was a cool opportunity to be creative, and I wanted to take advantage of it.”

Heidt said she used several important numbers repeatedly throughout her design. The center of the design representing the Hurley Administration Building consists of 10 threads for the university’s 10 schools and colleges, she said. She also used patterns of six threads to represent UNT’s six name changes.

As the student with the top design, Heidt received $500 from the UNT Foundation. The other two finalists, Alyssa Russell, a junior fibers major from Southlake, and Grethe Wirte, a senior drawing and painting and art history major from Burleson, each received $200.

Once Heidt’s design is registered as UNT’s tartan, it could be used in the creation of scarves, stadium blankets, ties and other merchandise. Proceeds from the sale of the merchandise will benefit student scholarships, said Jerry Holbert, president of the UNT Foundation, who notes that several other U.S. colleges and universities already have their own tartans.

—Nancy Kolsti, News Promotions

From left, Molly Morgan, director of marketing and communication and executive assistant for the UNT Foundation, Holbert and Robert Milnes, dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design, present a check to Heidt, winner of the tartan project. (Photo by Gary Payne / URCM)


Posted on: Thu 01 May 2014

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