Laura Merrick Roe '98
At Carleton I was a studio art major, focusing on photography and bookbinding; worked as a wood shop monitor for all four years; founded Anime Society with my friends; spent a summer on Arb Crew; and earned a French concentration certificate. I participated in two off campus study programs: Art History in The Netherlands and Français in France.
After graduation I continued traveling, first working as the Art Director of a summer camp in South Korea and then after 3 months in Korea I ended up living in Shanghai for a year, teaching Japanese Bookbinding, ESL, and traveling all around China. Another stint at a summer camp, this time in Cape Cod as Director of Woodworking. Then I found myself living in Burlington, Vermont - skiing and working in a photo lab and thought, “It’s time for graduate school.” I earned an MFA in Industrial Design from the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2004. After graduation I moved to Los Angeles for love and worked as an independent consultant in the sustainable packaging industry and started Viridor Design LLC. Kept the man & ditched L.A. for the stars (and the clear night skies of Flagstaff, Arizona - my partner, an astronomer, took a tenure-track position at Lowell Observatory).
We love high altitude living in Flagstaff: the stunning scenery, progressive community, and endless outdoor opportunities of the spectacular Southwest sold us; we bought a house, got hitched, and made the Grand Canyon State our home. My focus returned to the fine arts and I rented studio space in the downtown arts district on historic Route 66 to open Viridor Design Paper Arts Studio. We will feature handmade papers, pulp paintings, paper sculptures, and hand-bound books & boxes, as well as offer local workshops. Spent half a year renovating the 1920’s building which features 16’ ceilings, an exposed brick wall, original wooden support trusses, a wood ceiling, skylights, and large north-facing windows. Formerly a radio broadcasting studio, the renovations preserved a sound-proof room to house the 2lb Reina Beater. The 800 square foot studio is also equipped with a 12 ton Aardvark Press and a Reina Designs Dry Box. Grand Opening to the public is set for the First Friday Art Walk on June 4, 2010.
From April through October I volunteer as a docent leading tours at The Arboretum at Flagstaff, 200 acres showcasing the flora and fauna of the Colorado Plateau. I am a RadioActive (board member) for KNAU, our local NPR station. Also on the board for our HOA - dull issues of road maintenance and snow removal. I maintain my ties to Minnesota and return to our family cabin near Hackensack on Big Deep Lake as often as possible. I also serve as a trustee for the nature center across the lake, Deep Portage Learning Center, kayaking to meetings at the beautiful 6,307 acre campus.