Donna Weaver’s design selected for Indiana Bicentennial medal


When the State of Indiana celebrates its 200th birthday in 2016, at the forefront of the occasion will be a specially-designed Bicentennial commemorative medal – and the state has selected a design by Vevay’s Donna Weaver to grace that medal.

“It was an online process,” Donna Weaver said about how she went about submitting her design. “They used a service to organize the entries. We were allowed to submit up to three designs, and the submitter needed to be a resident of Indiana.”

Those submitting designs for consideration were asked to interpret the 200 years of Indiana’s history; and were also given a general theme idea of “turning the page” as the state moves forward into the future.

The title was, “Indiana Revealed”.

“There’s a lot of history in 200 years,” Weaver said. “So you had to pick and choose on importance and on how the image you select actually fits in with the design. That’s one of your overall concerns.”

In Weaver’s design, quite a bit of Indiana’s history is depicted. From the Civil War soldier in the upper left hand corner to early farming, a canal boat and train, and a race car; the medal pays homage to a wide range of important pieces of the state’s history – and it’s future.

Weaver will also be doing the actual sculpting of the medal, which could still undergo a few small design changes as the committee moves towards a final approval before the sculpting can begin.

She said that she expects things to move fairly quickly from here, because she’s been told that the state would like to have medals available for sale in time for the holiday season this November.

“Everybody sent in drawings of their design,” Weaver said. “I drew the individual parts. First you sit down and try and figure out the ideas, what direction you want to go. You toss out the first three or four, but maybe you go back to that first one and save part of that one, and then you start assembling pieces.”

Weaver said she usually starts the design process by selecting an image that she’s pretty sure about being included in what will be the final design, and then she scans it and puts it into Photoshop; then begins to move the text around to fit with the design elements.

“Actually this time I started with the text,” Weaver said. “It’s one of those things that is hard to say how it’s done, because you come at it from a lot of different directions. You have to have an idea in your head.”

Weaver said that one of the first elements she drew was the canal boat, because she feels that canal boats are neat; and the train, because she felt like the train “really opened up Indiana.”

But her first stop in the design process had little to do with the art.

“The first thing I did was research Indiana history,” she said. “I got an Indiana history book. I wanted to see what the history books thought was important. From there, I started whittling down until I got to something that works, both design wise and what the theme was going to be.”

She started the process in the beginning of June; with a deadline to the state by the end of June. She said that her event at the Venoge Farmstead in mid-June saw her put the project on the shelf so she could focus on Venoge, and then she returned to the process once things were settled down from that.

“I’m not just a designer, I’m also interested in historic preservation with Venoge,” Weaver said. “I think actually working at Venoge makes me more conscience of the material culture of different eras. That all plays into it. Even thinking about Venoge and how it came to be with the roads and the river. Actually, Jacob Weaver, who owned the house, was complaining in the 1830s that he couldn’t hire any hands because they were all going to work on the railroad or the canals, so there you go. You’ve got that tie in, there. Things were changing. Young people weren’t interested in staying home and farming the back 40 or the front 40. They were interested in going where the money was. Interesting the way culture changes like that.”