“I find myself most creative when I'm working with my hands, so I was definitely looking forward to going with no electricity for the month,” she says. She even took the challenge to another level. “I'm also not using the internet to research for my project, so learning how to use unfamiliar tools through books, peers, trial and error has been a new experience.”
Watson is working on a piece created from firewood scrap, hand carving the salvaged wood to accentuate its natural patterns and irregularities.
“Many of the processes without power do take a lot more time, so it forces us to think more thoroughly about why we're doing what we're doing,” she says. “These slower processes also have more of a meditative quality, and I tend to feel more connected to the work when I've spent hours carving it by hand.”
The experiment ends with a Halloween exhibit at the off-site DAAP workshop that the class called home for the month, where students’ works will be displayed with solar energy light. In November, it’s back to traditional electricity and the subject will shift to plywood, a more manufactured material dependent upon machinery and technology. Lynch hopes Darktober gives students a new appreciation for the roots of woodworking.
“I think it’s given students concrete ways to interpret the history of the material. I think they’ll recognize that newer isn’t always better.”
Featured image at the top: Illustration/Margaret Weiner/UC Creative Services