A sense of calling
From computer science major to textile illustrator, alumna proves your college major can take you many places
During her time at Messiah, Joy (Gallucci) Laforme ’09 chose to tap into her creative side. Although she came to Messiah as a computer science major, she picked up classes in studio art and graphic design during her last two years. Now, six years removed from Messiah, Laforme is self-employed as a textile artist and illustrator. She designs prints and patterns used on fabric for clothing and home interior items for clients such as American Girl, Target, Joss & Main and more. Her whimsical illustrations have been featured in HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Weddings and many other media outlets.
Much like her journey at Messiah, her career path—to her current role as owner/operator of Joy Laforme Design and Illustration—followed an arc, not a straight line. After graduation, she worked as a graphic designer before taking a job as a Web designer at Lilly Pulitzer, Inc.
“I got to interact with the artists there a lot,” said Laforme. “It was there that I could tell I was in the wrong vocation and I needed to be creating the artwork. So, I gave my notice at my job and left to pursue it on my own full-time.”
She then attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and received a master’s in graphic and interactive design in 2013.
Laforme says she remained open to career changes along the way thanks to her education and experiences at Messiah. “So many amazing professors and mentors told me that it’s okay if I don’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “It really helped me be open to changing directions in my career based on God’s plan for me.
What advice would she give to current Messiah students? “Be patient. It’s easier said than done, but patience is necessary when trying to be led by the spirit,” she said. “Also, view each opportunity you encounter, every professor you meet, every person you meet and every class you take as an opportunity to learn more about the word of God and furthering His kingdom.”
--Matthew Fenton ’13, ’16 MA