By Victoria Quint ’22
The hands of a student are constantly typing and taking notes: dutifully carrying out the brain’s work. But what if we let our hands lead for once? What if we took a break from the academics of Dartmouth and channeled our creative side? It’s liberating, and easy to do. Simply walk down the stairs across from Hinman, and you’ll find yourself outside the student workshops. There, you can create the most amazing pieces out of metal, wood, and clay.
I’ve only had time so far to use the ceramics workshop, but the others beckon each time I walk by. It never fails to amaze me how quickly time passes while I’m seated at a wheel, utterly absorbed in a smooth, beautiful piece of clay, watching take shape under my guiding hands. And the best part? I barely have to think about it. There are no equations to solve, no essays to write, and no books to read. Instead, I listen to my hands, responding when the clay leans out of center or a side is too thick. If I can’t figure out how to pull or shape my piece into what I imagined, I can ask for and receive on-the-spot help from one of the knowledgeable instructors or from a more experienced student sitting nearby.
It’s easy to be proud, sitting in the airy studio, as your clay slowly becomes your piece of art, and a practical one at that. I find it satisfying on a different level to see a ceramic piece from start to finish than an assignment for a class. You can step back at the end and admire it, knowing YOU made it with your own two hands. And even if it isn’t exactly what you had in mind, you know that whoever you share it with will love it because you made it for them.
With that in mind, I urge my fellow students to take a couple hours one afternoon and head down to the workshops. Pick one, even if you know nothing about it, and learn to use your hands for something other than typing. Introductory classes are offered each term, so all you have to do is sign up to start channeling your creativity.
Victoria Quint ’22 is a Hop Arts Ambassador. She is from Chittenden, Vermont, loves cats (and has three herself) and social activism.