Iowa State students create headscarf designs for nonprofit

“Splatter Together” by Carley Biggs, a senior in marketing, is one of two designs chosen by Strands of Strength, a nonprofit.

Logan Metzger

This month, two Iowa State College of Design students had their scarf designs selected for production by an Iowa nonprofit organization.

Strands of Strength, a nonprofit organization that provides free wigs and headscarves to low-income Iowa residents who lose their hair during cancer treatment, was founded by Iowa State interior design alumna and breast cancer survivor Deb Pulver.

The two designs, “Splatter Together” by Carley Biggs, senior in marketing, and “Life and Hope in ‘Them’” by Nick Piloni, a senior in architecture, will be printed by custom printing company DPI and distributed by Strands of Strength.

Biggs and Piloni created the winning selections this spring as a part of a service-learning project in the digital textile design studio course taught by Teresa Paschke, professor of art and visual culture.

Each year, students in this studio develop 36-inch square scarf designs for Strands of Strength, and two designs are chosen, printed on silk and distributed to Iowa women undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment.

This year, students’ work had to incorporate the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year, “Classic Blue,” and reflect the theme, Merriam-Webster’s 2019 Word of the Year, “They.”

According to a press release, Biggs wrote down other words that first came to mind when she considered the theme: “together” and “inclusive” for her design inspiration.

“The use of different colors and the size of the brush strokes in Photoshop is where I felt those words come into the design the most,” Biggs said in the press release. In addition to bringing everything together, “the border acts as the word ‘they’ and how I think it demonstrates inclusivity.”

According to a press release, Piloni described his design. He said the different hair/seed-like shapes represent life and hope that we as humans all have.

“The different lines represent connections we have with each other and how we may not all know each other, but we are all still connected to someone, and when we feel that goodness inside, we blossom into something beautiful as seen by the circles on the tip of the hope blossoming,” Piloni said in the press release.

To donate to Strands of Strength, go to their website where they are raising the funds needed to purchase new wigs.

Individuals can receive the headscarfs made by Biggs and Piloni by going through the consultation process with Strands of Strength.

The first step is finding an oncology professional who can identify a person’s medical need for a Strands of Strength wig.

After receiving a voucher for a wig from their oncology professional, the next step is for a person to make an appointment at one of the Strands of Strength’s partner salons.

Next is a consultation with the salon staff, where people select the wig of their choice. The salon then orders and styles the wig.

Finally, when the wig is ready, one pays the salon for the wig by using a Strands of Strength voucher, which covers all costs.