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Im Taking an Introductory Sculpture Class, So You Don’t Have To

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNH chapter.

Blood, burns, scrapes, and pain. It wasn’t the first thing I’d expected when signing up for Introductory
Sculpture last Fall.

“Jeez, you need to be wearing safety gloves in this class,” says my friend as they look down at my newly
blistered and lesioned hands. She’s right, but I think I would rather be scraped up than be
the only one in my class wearing gloves, as I may die of embarrassment.

As a visual design minor at UNH, I had the choice of picking either Introductory Woodworking or
Introductory Sculpture as a course to continue my college career. I have never done either
before, but the answer came easy to me.

I decided on picking sculpture because with woodworking, there are power tools, and I was not in the
mood to get hurt. Little did I know for the past weeks of the semester starting, I would be coming
home with bandaids all over my fingertips anyways.

There aren’t even that many power tools to get hurt from in this class. The only one worth mentioning that can
potentially be dangerous is the band saw. The band saw consists of a long, sharp blade that is made up of
a continuous band of teeth stretched between two or more wheels. The only thing we used it for was to cut
books in half to create a sculpture for books.

I only said it’s worth mentioning as I did get somewhat hurt from it. As I pushed my novel through the
blade of the saw to create an abstract line, book dust seemed to spew out and flew around my glasses and
into my eyes.

So much for the safety goggles our assistant sculpture instructor said to use. He has
been sculpting with wood and metal, and there’s not even a scratch on him, so maybe I’m just unlucky.
Given that I did get a little hurt from the bandsaw, the non-power-related materials being used to construct
our sculptures have given me the most Injuries.

For one project, we were making sculptures of objects from wire. I chose to make a purse, a simple shape for a beginner to make. I soon realized it was not so simple as with every twist and turn with the wire, I would slice my nail beds (rest in peace, gel manicure).

Yet, I wasn’t the only one who annihilated their fingers, as a student working on a wire lamp had some of his fingers wrapped in painter’s tape as there were no bandaids available at his disposal.

It seems that the other students bond over the pain that this class causes us. During our mask project, a
project consisting of students making a giant mask of an animal or a person, a few of us would be in the
studio until 3 am.

We would talk about either our techniques, the class, or even whether pineapple should belong on
pizza. One girl even brought a Coors Light as she claimed it helped her get through her project faster. We
would all cheer her on until she finished and then proceed to giggle and work on our masks.

I usually never get to talk to people from my classes. Usually, I go to a lecture and sit and leave without
any other interaction with my classes. Intro to Sculpture is different, and it’s nice to create these artworks in a
friendly environment, as the class as a whole gossip and talk about their days.

As I spread hot glue on my piece of cardboard to place upon the cheekbone of my Marie Antonette mask,
I’d yelp out in pain as the hot glue would seep into my skin, causing the worst burning pain I’ve felt in a
while, and I would hear a little giggle. My newest friend, I share a workbench, would be
grinning and laughing at my pain. This happens vis-verse too.

“I would never say that this is an introductory class,” She would criticize as we talked about the class.
“Or at least there should be a warning label on the course description.”

I would agree. With the class having the expectation of spending 10 hours a week on our projects, along with
these minor injuries, I wouldn’t categorize it as an introductory level. Then again, it is a breath of fresh air
when you come to a class with such a good community. I mean this literally too, as one week, we went
into the Campus Woods for a group project, making sculptures with the materials of nature.

My sculpture professor says that sculptures are powerful pieces of art, and with their
three-dimensional presence where they are helping the viewer understand how powerful the piece is.

“You will develop an understanding of how sculpture is situated within the context of culture and society
at large.” my professor says to the class. But little does she know that what I learned from this class is to
buy the adhesive bandages from Rite-Aid down the street rather than the Hannaford because they are

Now every Monday and Wednesday, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., I’ll pack my adhesive bandages and bike
down to my sculpture class with blisters and scars from the previous project on my hands because even
though I’m most likely about to get hurt, I’m going to have a good time doing so.

Hello, I'm Mariyah, and I love to write and make art!