ALUMNA PROFILE: Catherine Garvey MacMahon [B.S.I.D. ‘02] Catherine Garvey MacMahon was born with a creative mind, exuding an artistic flair. She was also born with an incredible aptitude for math. She has, her entire life, faced an endless hunger for nourishment from both the right side of her brain and the left side of her brain. So she did the only thing she could. She fed them both equally. Catherine received a Bachelor of Business Administration from UT-Austin in 2000. As a business major, she learned about the structure of economies and the power of marketing. In 2002, Catherine received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interior Design. As an interior design major, she found that she could combine her propensity for math with her love of art. In 2006, Catherine received a Masters of Fine Arts from the California College of the Arts. With her
master’s degree in hand, she transformed her educational experience into a unique life path experience—she discovered a course that integrated all three. “I am an independent artist/designer, developing my own body of work concentrating in textiles,” said Catherine. “I have brought my love of art and math together in a way that eludes a professional title because it is my own practice rooted in processes of making, writing and research.” Upon completion of her undergraduate degrees, Catherine left for San Francisco to work as a Designer/Job Captain with Mike
McCall at McCall Design Group. It was then that she discovered a longing for answers to questions that hadn’t been addressed in her undergraduate education. In her job, she was taking projects from schematic design, through design development, to construction drawings and following up with construction administration. While it was a tremendous learning experience, she realized she yearned for something more. “I had unanswered questions about the body, perception, space and time that continued to intrigue me. So, I decided to apply to graduate school hoping that a Masters of Fine Arts
would serve as a springboard into an independent practice, based on research and experimentation,” said Catherine. “I did. And that’s where I am today.” Reflecting on her personal experience as an undergraduate student, Catherine sees room for change in the curriculum. She is concerned that there is too little emphasis on teaching students how to think, to question, and to develop their own point of view. “Being a critical thinker in the world is an invaluable gift that higher education offers. It is a privilege that should not be wasted. It’s much more intriguing when a student comes from a program that teaches them to think not just about what life is, but about what life could be.” —Amy Maverick Crossette
Catherine Garvey MacMahon, [B.S.I.D. ‘02], artist/designer.
Images: Details of Catherine MacMahon’s thesis installation, “Becoming Bibliography,” which was made up of 35 pieces of cotton batiste (each screen-printed with a different portion of her written thesis) that were pleated and bound by string, then overdyed in indigo.
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