CAL POLY
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Craft Center Atmosphere

The Cal Poly Craft Center is a place where students and community members can go to develop and grow their creative pursuits. With classes in everything from surfboard shaping to ceramics to flameworking, there's no shortage of creative energy in this corner of campus.

The images below show a glimpse of the craft center on a regular Tuesday morning. Click the left or right arrows to move thorugh the slideshow, or just let it play.

The Cal Poly Craft Center is a hub of learning, creation, and community. It’s open to students and San Luis Obispo residents and used by people of all craft levels, from beginners to experts. Above, a rather talented Cal Poly Construction Management alum, Cameron Johnson, uses the pottery wheel to create a bowl. As with most college facilities, the Craft Center is nearly lifeless in the morning. It’s 10 a.m. and Johnson is the first to arrive. Soon, the center will be bustling with students and community members itching to create. People come to the craft center to hone their skills through classes, or to use the space as their workshop. At the Craft Center, you can take a class in anything from ceramics to flameworking. At any given time, you’ll likely see some people shaping their own surfboards, some blowing glass and others hand-throwing pottery. Johnson learned ceramics as a freshman at Cal Poly and uses the craft center to practice his techniques, even after graduating. Johnson created all of these pieces of pottery in the same sitting. He is quite talented, although he mostly just sculpts for fun. “I sell them, I keep them, or I give them to my friends”, said Johnson, talking about what he does with his finished work. 
Not everyone who uses the craft center is a seasoned ceramicist. Angela Yust is a third year biology major and is just beginning to learn through a ceramics class. She’s using the morning to practice before her class begins. Yust begins the process by rolling out the block of clay on the table. “I’m trying to make a mug,” said Yust, “but I didn’t like the way it was looking, so I had to start over”. Meanwhile, a skateboard shaping class is beginning in the woodshop area. The students above are learning how to plan, measure, and cut the top piece (“deck”) of a skateboard. Classes at the craft center are taught by Cal Poly students, most of whom learned from the Cal Poly students before them. On the other side of the craft center, Lydia Anderson is teaching a flameworking class. She’s a fifth-year Environmental Engineering major and learned to work with glass when she was a third-year. Today, she’s showing her students how to make a glass pendant with a colored spiral design on the inside. The process begins by choosing which colors to work with. Flameworkers at the craft center use cylinders of colored glass and melt them together in order to form designs. In order to manipulate the glass, it’s heated to extremely high temperatures. Flameworkers at the craft center regularly work with molten-hot materials–a slightly dangerous hobby. “I have set my hair on fire before”, said Anderson, “I wasn’t paying attention–I was really in the zone and I just leaned over and caught my hair on fire a little bit”. After cooling for 24 hours, a finished pendent looks like this. A chain or string can be fed through the loop on top and the pendant can be worn as a necklace. Most of the students in the flameworking class are wearing one of their creations while they create more.
 

A Student Perspective

Lydia Andersen, a 5th year environmental engineering student, believes the craft center is important because it provides a space for students to relax and create without the rigidity of classes and grades. Below, she talks about the significance of the craft center on campus and how it has enhanced her Cal Poly experience.

In One Word

Watch three Cal Poly students answer the question: "In one word, how would you describe the craft center, and why?"

The image below contains hotspots that will be displayed by hovering your mouse over the image. When the hotspots display, hover your mouse over it–then click play to view the video.

Evidence

Creativity has more benefits than just being relaxing or fun. This infographic shows why creativity is important and 5 ways you can make your daily life more creative.

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Cal Poly Creates