I did not think I would take another visual arts class after my first-year in high school. I walked out of my last class of the year feeling proud but sad; I knew that it would be the last time I could take a studio arts class in high school. There were other requirements I needed to fulfill and other subjects I needed to take. I certainly did not expect college to be any different.
During the chaos that was class registration, I ended up with an empty Thursday afternoon and decided that I could fit a few more credit hours into my schedule. After looking through the course atlas, I found a class that would shape my semester: Intro to Sculpture. I was thrilled by the opportunity to take art classes again—but now in the college setting.
I went to the first class expecting a therapeutic break from the stress of other classes, but I was very wrong. Since this is a four credits class, my professor expected us to dedicate at least eight hours a week to our project. I did not think the projects would take this much time, but I was wrong for a second time. I learned through firsthand experience that carving plaster required great physical effort and a huge amount of patience. After accidentally hammering my own hand approximately six times, the sculpture started to look like something, but it wasn’t finished. I sanded the plaster relentlessly, trying to smooth out the surface. The process was strenuous, both physically and mentally.
I didn’t think anything could be more difficult than plaster carving, but then the wire project came along. Wire was not only unpredictable; it was also dangerous. I pricked my fingers multiple times and used up a box of bandages in a matter of days. I almost gave up on my idea because the dangling mess in front of me was not at all what I envisioned in the beginning. At the last few days, I somehow managed to pull everything together and turned in a piece of artwork that I was very proud of.
To my surprise, sculpture ended up being my most demanding class last semester. Not only did I have to think outside of the box, but I also had to manage my time well to finish the projects before the assigned deadline. I learned various new sculpting techniques and perhaps more importantly, I learned how to problem solve and think creatively. I am thankful for the opportunity to take another art class after my four-year break from freshman year of high school. I strongly encourage everyone to take a studio arts class at Emory.
Vivian Fan 20B
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