A weekly course offered in Mather House lets students forget their midterm stress and think more about lathes—pictured on the left. For just $50, participants spend a semester turning a simple lump of wet wood into a bowl, a pen, or a vase. According to devotees, the activity is quite a stress reliever.
“There’s something almost spiritual about creating something out of nothing, about shaping the raw block of wood into a work of art,” says Sean D. Wilson ’05.
The program began in spring of 2003, when then-residential tutor Aaron S. Allen decided to organize a woodwork exhibit in Mather’s Three Columns Gallery. There, students gathered round as artist Alan Hark showed how to make bowls on a lathe set up in the lobby. The demonstrations quickly turned into short tutorials, which quickly turned into hour-long lessons, which quickly turned into weekly classes, says Mather resident Jessica L. Jones ’06.
Hark also testifies to the classes’ spiritual power, describing the process of woodturning as “advancing an awareness of my connection with my subconscious and a universal awareness that is expressed in the product of my work at the lathe.”
That sounds better than midterms any day.