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And Then There Were Two.

May 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm
By Marlena Hartman-Filson, '13

I've been trying really hard to avoid thinking about fact that my last day on campus is 39 days from now. And that I'll be graduating 31 days from now. And that my last last day of finals is 26 days from now. And that my last last day of classes is 21 days from now. If you only count school days, I have 14 days left (I'm missing the Friday of 8th week and the Monday of 9th week*). But since I only have classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, that means I have 8 days of classes left. And since two of my classes don't meet on Fridays, I only have 6 of those classes left.


I have no idea what to do with this information. Absolutely no idea.

So what's the best thing to do when you have a problem and you don't know how to fix it? 

Ignore it and hope it goes away, of course!

So that's what I'm going to do. I'll just blog about my classes like nothing's wrong.

This term I'm taking two classes for credit - Genetics and Metalsmithing. Genetics is your pretty standard biology class, accompanied by a lab in which we spend four hours each week bopping worms on the head, making them flouresce green, and breeding mutant phenotypes that move by rolling counterclockwise instead of wiggling. Typical. 

I went out on a limb in my choice of a second class. As you may have heard, I recently discovered that Carleton has this crazy thing called art classes. Okay, that's not true at all. I always knew that Carleton has a phenomenal studio art department, but I hadn't garnered the courage to register for one until this fall. As it turned out, registering for that one class set into motion something of an art avalanche for me. I took Drawing this fall, and before I knew it I was in the Cook Islands on a Drawing and Printmaking study abroad program!

I guess I must have enjoyed it, because I couldn't wait to come back to campus and take more art classes. I especially wanted to take a 3D class like Sculpture or Ceramics. Or Bookbinding. Or Tablemaking. Or, as happened to be offered this term, Metalsmithing.

I couldn't be happier with my choice. Metals is an amazing class. Because I haven't taken any other upper level art classes, I can't tell you if the format of the Metals class is similar to the format of other art classes. Regardless, I'm really enjoying it. We come to class, the instructor (Danny Saathoff, a local sculptor and jeweler) shows us a handful of techniques, and for the rest of the time we're free to work on our own projects. I love learning how to use the tools in the studio and I love having the freedom to design and create my own work.

Our first assignment was to make a sculptural ring out of mainly metal and brass. It didn't have to be "functional" in that it needed to be practical and something you'd want to wear every day, but it had to be able to be worn on a finger (or fingers) like a ring. And so I decided, with a bit of contemplation, that I wanted to make a ring...

that can bite. 



The idea is that ring attached to the alligator's head is worn where a normal ring would be worn and the lower jaw sits on the outermost joints of your finger. When the wearer bends his, her, or their finger at the innermost joint, the alligator's mouth opens. So with a few pointing and flexing motions, you can achieve some chomp, chomp, chomping.

Our second assignment was to make a functional ring out of silver. I've never been much of a ring wearer, so I have to admit that I was stumped by this assignment for quite a while. Finally, I decided to go with a design that would be fun to make, hoping that my enjoyment of wearing it would follow. This is what I came up with:



Basically, it's one long, thin piece of silver wrapped around itself with "feet" that hold a second ring in place. The second ring spins under the stone, giving the wearer something to play with (great for those of us who are fidgeters). Click here to see the awesome things that my classmates came up with for these projects!

Our next assignment is to make a bracelet out of titanium. Besides the titanium screw that currently resides in my left foot, I haven't spent a lot of time playing with titanium. As it turns out, it's extremely durable and very elastic as a material. You can bend it all you want and it will always go back to its original shape. Which is great - for a screw. Unfortunately, these same properties make it pretty tricky to make jewelry out of because it doesn't want to be formed into anything that it isn't already. And what it is now is a 2x7 inch sheet. Hm... my task this week is to figure out what to do about this small conundrum.

Actually, I should really go do that now.

Bis nächste Woche!



*Because Syzygy, my Ultimate Frisbee team, is heading to Madison, WI to play in Nationals!!! More to come on this later.

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