Students in field

Student Spotlight: Gina Geliche

June 26, 2018


  • Hometown: Union Grove, WI
  • Major: Fiber & Fashion Design
  • Groups: Servant Leadership House and Helsinki Slang
  • Year: Senior
When Gina Geliche started as a student at Finlandia University three years ago, she wasn’t planning on majoring in Fiber and Fashion Design.


Geliche, now a senior, grew up with a family of weavers, shoemakers and textile makers. Despite the history of weaving in her family, Geliche began looking for English, Art and Finnish studies programs when she started her college hunt.

Like most young adults, Geliche, found Finlandia online.

“Finlandia called me the next day and gave me all the information I needed and the teachers I might talk to,” she said. “I spoke with the International School of Art & Design Dean, Denise Vandeville, and the acting dean of the Suomi College of Arts and Sciences in the same day.”

Geliche came on a campus tour and was sold by the friendliness of the staff and the facilities, including a state-of-the-art computer lab, which is something she hadn’t experienced as a high school student.

Gina GelichiThe following semester she began her studies as an illustration major.

Then she found the fiber and fashion design studio.

“I liked what we were doing here more than I liked drawing,” she said. “I consider this more of an old school craft, and it’s dying out a little bit, and I like to keep things like that alive.”

Geliche changed her major and hasn’t looked back. But she still relies on her illustration friends for inspiration.

“A lot of times I’ll look at a sketch they’ve done and ask to use aspects of it in a weave,” she said. “Their color scheme, their motif, anything I think might translate well into a fabric.”

Geliche enjoys showing her friends how to use the fiber arts studio to their advantage.

“It’s always nice to have them do a screen printing or surface design techniques they wouldn’t have necessarily considered their work to translate into,” she said.

Geliche also finds inspiration from her professors, who she says challenge her.

“They’re a great sounding board for our ideas,” she said. “Especially if you have an idea in your head and you’re trying to get to your end goal, it’s wonderful to talk to them because you get multiple points of view since we have teachers who are artists. They have gone to school, they’ve done this before and they can give us feedback that we can’t necessarily give each other.”

The fiber and fashion design program is small, but Geliche likes it that way.

“It’s definitely a positive thing, especially when you get a new program or technique you’re not familiar with, you need the hands on interaction,” she said. “For example, threading a loom. It’s time consuming and confusing and there are a lot of parts and when you first walk into that you have no idea what you’re doing. If there were 30 people in the group, you’d never get through anything.

“But being in a small group, we have the opportunity to talk and learn things about each other. Everyone is friendly and they want to help and they want to know your opinions, your art, what you do and how you do it.”

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