The craft club is certainly generating interest among the students and staff, academic and administrative alike) - and this week a few young men stopped by my office wanting to join the craft club. So to keep the project more gender neutral project and ensure it be fun and challenging, I planned the advent of the great string lamp making marathon. Who can resist a gorgeous lampshade in earthy textures and natural colours. The organic shape and texture is hypnotically drawing. They have the look and feel of luxury.
At this stage, the running costs of the project fall entirely upon my shoulders - this might be a problem in the future. Anyway I had to come up with a plan to bring the costs down, which has had implications for the overall projected success of the project as you will find out later on.
But onto the project itself. Once more we met in the Boardroom, generously lent to us by the Department of Philosophy. Students were asked a week earlier to bring with them various items needed for the project if they could. They arrived eager and curious to find out how they were going to create a string lamp from the odd assortment of things they were asked to bring - which included among other things - a balloon, petroleum jelly, string and glue.
All was going well, the instructions were so basic that it didnt take long to explain the method. The students began their projects - everyone was rather happy until they started running out of glue, and we needed lots of it. So my idea was to mix up the wallpaper paste with water and use that as the glue. It seemed to work well. I left the students to themselves - and went to do some admin work with the other staff members in our department.
There was a soft knock on the door - the students had come to call me to have a look at what they had come up with so far. One of the best things I love about teaching craft is that you never know what creative idea will arise from the original technique. I entered the room and was bowled over by the variations of string patterns and designs that they had independently come up with.
Anyway, we wrapped up the project with string lamps in the raw form, wet and squishy-like. They left them in my office to dry - I assured them that the lamp would be rock solid like the example I had made before the class to show them. A week and a half later - what we have are still very wet and squishy strings.....apparently the wallpaper paste did not work as intended. But being the great sports the students are - they all reckon - it is not such a big deal because they main thing was that they learned how to make a cool lamp and they learned what NOT to use as the glue! What a great bunch of people they are!