In between my work commitments, I managed to squeeze in life. Creative people often have to “work” harder to squeeze in that time to reflect, experience, explore, love, and grow in ways that don’t happen without some intentional nurturing. Heck, everyone needs to do this, regardless of whether you’re a “creative” person or not.

So here is my brief reflection of a whirlwind “summer” – that period between the end of the Winter semester, around early May, through the start of the Fall semester, into September. I resisted giving up on Summer. But then, well, Mother Nature has a way of forcing the issue as temperatures have swung from the upper 80’s down through the 50’s and even mid 40’s.

Out come the sweaters, a blanket, and I curl up on the back porch with a book, still clinging to summer in those brief pauses before dinner is ready.

Although I know the temps will swing back up to unseasonal warmth as a last gasp before winter, I have staunchly held on to these last days of the season. Out come the sweaters, a blanket, and I curl up on the back porch with a book, still clinging to summer in those brief pauses before dinner is ready.

Passages: I saw them everywhere. At Fort Ticonderoga in a passageway from outside to inside, the Ticonderoga Ferry, carrying us across a small spit of water that splits the historic lakes between Vermont and New York. In the seemingly endless days of painting and cleaning my old house as we prepped it for sale, finishing those many unfinished projects that were left behind as a legacy from a previous life. To sell one’s home of two decades, one must finish the unfinished business of the last life before moving fully onto the tasks of the next life.

Connections: Friendships and spiritual connections were renewed and fostered. Memories from the past became clear, as did the literal threads that tied me, my friends, my past, my future, all of which became vividly real. Across generations, across ties of friendship and family, spiritual and worldly.

Seeing Anew: New ground is laid as roots are planted into new spaces. Rediscovering life from the perspective of a child. Creating new traditions while connecting to the old ones.

As storms brew outside my window and sunsets never cease to amaze, each is to be seen through fresh eyes at every opportunity. That is the commitment I have given to myself.

Let’s see how long that lasts!

Sometimes I forget how our stories become buried in the past. So when a writer from My City Magazine contacted me this past winter, I figured she was contacting me about promoting the Graphic Design program which will be celebrating 20 years this Fall.

Lo and behold, she insisted the story was to be about me… personally. Not one to be comfortable in the limelight, I reluctantly agreed, but always tried to steer back to the graphic design program. The writer, however, became intrigued with the back story… my story. How we shape our lives, our perspective, how we channel it into art, a career, a life… Even so, as I read through the final version of the article after it was published, I was reminded how much of a winding road my life’s journey has been. I’m looking forward to even more adventures in the future!

Whenever any of my students tell me they are unsure how to narrow down their career and/or life choices, I am reminded that my own life has hardly been a straight line. This lovely article written by Anne Trelfa of My City Magazine, though fairly thorough, just barely touches the surface. An adventure nonetheless! Read the article and come to your own conclusions!


Dr. Mara Jevera Fulmer, ED.D., MFA, MA
From New York to Fiji to Flint

My City Magazine, June 1, 2018
Anne Trelfa, writer
2018 Photograph by Jennifer Hodney


PS: As in all things, no matter how many times one reads through, errors occur. There were only three minor errors that I offer corrections for here. First: The Fulbright I received was a Fulbright Specialist Grant and I taught a class at the Ekaterinburg Academy of Contemporary Art. It was not for me to study abroad… though all scholars and artists, by nature, study their surroundings! Second: Time was muddied a bit for content discussing my doctoral studies which began in Spring 2011. My Fulbright and my husband Keith’s subsequent illness and passing was the following year in Spring/Summer 2012. Third: The photo of me in my office at the University Media Center, USP, was taken by Litiana Waqalevu, the Media Center photographer who taught me more than a few lessons in crossing cultures! Nevertheless, Fijian spellings are often prone to spellcheck miscorrections. 

Namaste – Lillypads and goldfish. Photo illustration by Mara Jevera Fulmer, 2017.

Back in 1997, upon my return to the states after six years abroad, I created my first design website and titled it Looking Glass Design. It was an impetuous choice but based upon the interpretation of my experiences slipping across cultures, time and space, often feeling and then embracing the disorientation of the clash of the familiar and unfamiliar as a traveler in a global village.

After more than 20 years creating and teaching design, and two additional graduate degrees, my professional (and personal) life has truly evolved. The details, or at least the reflections, can be read on a separate personal blog here – Mara’s Blog. However, as I continue to heavily weave together creative works, design thinking, and the mission of education, my professional (and personal) goals have continued to evolve. There is nothing like going through major adversity to spin your life’s directions around from where you thought it might have been pointed before.

Creative work flows within my veins and continuing to create is one of my primary objectives. But defining what is creative work has expanded for me, especially in the realm of the narrative and visual arts. So as I move forward, traditional graphic design in a commercial sense has less of a place in my work, whereas design for social change, design as a methodology for improving education, and design as an outlet for creating art… all of these more accurately describe where art and design define my current direction.

This newly updated website for my work, under the web domain Looking Glass Design, serves not so much as an active marketing device for more commercial work but as a a place to share current creative explorations, and as a repository of past work. As this space evolves, I hope you’ll find peace, joy, and fulfillment in your own creative work. Namaste!