Eye on UCSD: UCSD Crafts Center

    A secret is hidden among the trees near the Student Center. Students often walk past it, sometimes a few times a week, without ever realizing its existence. Even with its ideal location – adjacent to the Grove Caffe and situated across from the Student Center study lounge – the Crafts Center remains relatively unknown to the student body.

    Erik Jepsen/Guardian
    Revelle College freshman Kate Zavack uses her fingers to shape clay on a pottery wheel. Right: After blowing a small air pocket into warm glass, Muir college junior Brian Evans uses a tong and a flat surface to gently shape it. Each class requires participants to pay a fee, UCSD students recieving the lowest prices.

    “”Most of the time I see non-UCSD students in the craft classes,”” said Starr Sinton, a teaching assistant at the jewelry studio. “”An awful lot of UCSD students say that they have never heard of the UCSD Crafts Center, but people from [outside of the UCSD community] know about the Crafts Center.””

    The Crafts Center offers a wide variety of classes that are all taught in an art studio environment. Students, faculty and others in the UCSD community can take many courses, including ceramics, guitar, glass blowing and neon design. The courses offer students hands-on experience and freedom in construction and creation.

    “”There are very few rules here,”” said Carol Sivets, a jewelry teacher. “”Students get to come here and relax and are not to be constrained by structure and rules.””

    Erik Jepsen/Guardian
    After blowing a small air pocket into warm glass, Muir college junior Brian Evans uses a tong and a flat surface to gently shape it. Each class requires participants to pay a fee, UCSD students recieving the lowest prices.

    Sinton, who was a student at the Crafts Center prior to taking a position as a teaching assistant, agrees that the center allows students liberty in their aesthetic projects.

    “”During the first semester students learn how to use the tools and the basic techniques, then students are pretty much free to do what they want to do,”” he said.

    Freedom in creative projects provides a refreshing break from the limitations and humdrum of academia. John Muir College sophomore Allison Lee, who is a jewelry class student, said that making jewelry has been an ideal alternative to academic classes.

    “”Taking the jewelry class gives me a lot of options to learn other stuff besides school stuff,”” Lee said. “”The class is not time consuming. I come here and enjoy myself and then I go back to school.””

    Students participating in Craft Center classes also gain an opportunity to meet people outside of their immediate social circles. According to Paul Linsley, the studio manager, the center can be a social network for its students.

    “”We are geared toward students,”” he said. “”We give them another access outside of classes. Students have another outlet to meet people and make friends.””

    This supportive and low-key atmosphere is what has kept Tara Magboo, a San Diego State University graduate student studying fine arts, a Crafts Center follower for seven years. Despite the commute, Magboo continues to work on projects at the jewelry studio several times a week.

    According to Patty Yockey, a glass blowing teacher, the stress-free milieu creates a casual and social atmosphere, making the environment very unique.

    “”The Crafts Center is a place for community, not just in art, but as a social interaction,”” she said. “”Even though the Crafts Center is geared for UCSD students, we have students from all walks of life. It’s a place where people gather and feel like they have friends around them at all times.”” 

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