close up of finished hardwood with inlay

Art and the Makerspace

a wood frame in a grassy open space with a toddler wandering through
work by Kya Butterfield, dimensional lumber (Louisa Jordan modeling)

Did you know the Makerspace is also the home of the Studio Art program?

Whittier Hall houses the 3D Design and Architecture Studies classrooms and courses, as well as the personal senior studios of Art majors. Their classes are held, as often as not, in the Makerspace woodshop, their reviews happen in the hallways, and their students–those majoring and those dipping a toe in the interesting program–spend a lot of their time in the space.

This double home for the shops in Whittier give it the culture and energy that makes it unique on campus, which you’ll notice if you come by. So, where the multidisciplinary openness of the space to the whole community makes the work and thinking here broad, the Art students and faculty send it deep.

a realistic sculpture of a bowl of tomato alphabet soup with the letters spelling out "we need to end things"
work by Angie Kwon, resin and dishware.

For those unacquainted with art education and production, the interest–and indeed, the focus–is not only on provocative built work, but around the culture of critique. Critique is not just an attitude/opinion toward work; it is an entire practice, from the art studio to the daily interaction with your professors, to the structured reviews that rely on guests’ input as much as grades. It’s a whole different way of looking at developing your skills and your self, and really pinpoints the ethos of a makerspace like ours.

a small model of the facade of a building made from cardboard
architecture model, chipboard and acrylic

This is to say: at the makerspace we encourage, search for, and highlight opportunities for critical making, a physical component to critical thinking. In critical making, we emphasize the meaning of what we’re doing–beyond producing something for a task or grade, we like talking about how what you’re making is engaging with changes in the world, or in you. This sounds grandiose, but the intelligence of the Art approach here is to point out that these issues are obvious in any project, whether it’s simple production on a 3D printer or brainstorming an abstract dream project from scratch. It’s a matter of knowing where and how to look.

To this end, we invite everyone into the makerspace, for projects little and big, with the understanding that anything/everything is on the table for discussion. If you’re curious about 3D printing we can explain it, and if you have an idea that’s just taking shape we can talk about all of the wonderful and weird ways it might go. You just might end up (or already be) an artist!