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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Student-run arts offer new experiences

Students who want to develop photography, throw pottery, or sew, but avoid art class, may feel that finding a space to create art can be problematic. Jutting out of the loggia between Haines and James, the craft room has, for three years, operated as a space for students to launch themselves into their recreational arts.
The craft room is divided between a dark room, managed by Amanda Underwood ’10 and Jacqueline Blair ’12, and a ceramics station, headed by Rob Zyskowski ’10 and Lindsey Walter ’11.
Use of the one-person dark room comes complete with the chemicals, paper, and tools necessary for developing and printing photos. For students interested in photography, the dark room is a meditative place to manually develop photos.
Underwood is willing to give interested students demonstrations on how to correctly use the darkroom materials. The room holds three containers where photos are processed in various chemicals. Further back is the enlarger, in which the photos are placed and then translated onto paper. This translation happens by certain crystals being exposed to light, thus turning them black. Though this is just in layman’s terms, under Underwood’s direction, even amateur photographers can learn the ins and outs of developing film. Cameras can be rented for free from the AV Center for a week at a time, or students can borrow one of the vintage film cameras owned by the dark room.
“There are people here to help those who don’t know how to use a dark room,” Underwood said. “The charge for materials and 24-hour Pcard access is $35 per semester. There is also storage space for your photos.” Underwood also said that she hopes more people will use the craft room this year.
The charge for the ceramics facilities is also $35 per semester. This includes use of four throwing wheels, two kilns, clay and glazes. There are also monitors on site to help beginners and to fire finished pieces. The monitors “can teach you basic throwing, using clay, recycling, cleaning up and finding things,” Howort, the former monitor, said. Howort also emphasized that students can easily use the pieces they throw.
“All the glazes are food-safe,” Howort said. “We mixed the chemicals ourselves.” The ceramics side of the craft room offers a range of blue, green and red glazes although “we are still looking for a yellow glaze,” Howort said. In addition to the craft room’s regular hours, Howort will also be teaching a free ceramics class later in the year.
Although there was a craft room open house on Wednesday, students can still sign up anytime to use craft room facilities. There will be aids in the craft room on Tuesday from 7-8 p.m., Wednesday from 8-9 p.m., Thursday from 7-8 p.m. and Sunday from 3-4 p.m.
While there is no specific exhibition space for photos or ceramics produced in the craft room, students are encouraged to take their finished product to the student craft fair every semester in JRC 101.

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