Play to Make

Fall 2021


How Did This Class Go For Me?

I didn’t completely know what to expect when I signed up for this class. I read the description and it seemed like a great opportunity as an engineering student to take a class that had to do with art before I am inundated with mainly science and math classes.

Overall, I had a great time in the class and I was very happy to be able to have an in person class while on campus. I remember Martha saying that one of the main goals of the class was going to be to teach us how to think and think deeply about things. I think that definitely happened for me and I really enjoyed the opened ended projects that allowed for the students to use their own creativity to meet the requirements. In addition to learning how to think in a different way I also learned a bunch of physical skills ranging from how to use a T-square to how to make and use a plaster mold. I found all of the projects to spark curiosity within me to think about how each one could be taken to the next level.

Lastly, I really enjoyed the classroom environment. I think that Martha really created a friendly, inviting environment where we all go to know each other pretty well and our general interests. This is something that is very valuable especially going to a school with 25,000+ students.

I had a lot of fun in this class and learned a lot and thank you to everyone who was a part of it for helping make it so enjoyable.



Art and Christmas

One of my neighbors recently asked me to help them buy some Christmas lights and put them up. I have always helped my parents set up the couple of strands of lights that we have but never anything too elaborate. I found a true art an beauty in the process of hanging the lights for my neighbor. Before tackling the project I carefully thought about how I could make their house stand out with what they had. Experimenting with different types of wrappings and patterns that would combine colored and white lights. Overall, I found the experience to be quite similar to a project in this class where we had to design, test, and revise; like always I found the process quite enjoyable.


Shadow Art

I was interested in how artists used shadows to create art and how the end results can be different. We doing some research I came across two examples that really interested me.

I thought it was really cool how both of them had shadows that someone would have never guessed if they just saw the objects themselves. the planes on which the light is coming from is different in the two pictures. I think these are two different approaches but both equal as interesting.



Just before we left for the semester I was walking past Burris hall and noticed a pattern at the top of the building that looked very familiar to me. After a couple of hours it finally came to me…. it was a pattern that looked almost identical to the pattern that is on the windows of the moss arts center. It is much easier to see in person because the picture I have is pretty blurry, but I would encourage you to check it out next time you walk past Burris (it’s at the very top)




As you guys know my name is Jack Taylor. I am a freshman majoring in engineering with an interest in mechanical engineering. I am from Wilmington, Delaware. That is in the very north part of Delaware, meaning I am very close to Philadelphia. I played both soccer and baseball in high school and am excited for intramurals to start up again, hopefully. I have one younger sister who is a senior in high school and yellow lab named Buck.


Working With Clay

I did some brief research on different ways that people work with clay and what is generally made using these techniques:

Slab Building – slabs of clay are rolled our pounded out (this can be done with many techniques) and used to make objects. These slabs can be decorated using many tools and bent or formed into desired figures (such as trays, vases, etc.).

Coiling – creating long rounded strips of clay and formed using a spiral pattered into whatever the desired profile is. This techniques is often used to produce vases and bowls.

Throwing – throwing is a method of using a pottery wheel to shape the clay while it is spinning. This method results in a symmetric shaped vessel and is used to make numerous amounts of objects (pots, bowls, vases, places, mugs, etc.)

Slip Casting – this involves using a premade mold and pouring liquified clay. After letting this liquid clay dry for a while the mold takes some of the moister out of clay creating a more solid from and the mold can be removed. This is different from the method we used in class with our molds.



As the days begin to get shorter and shorter I keep thinking about how daylight affect myself and others. I think back about how this change in daylight has shifted my work habits and schedule thought out the semester. I think it is very interesting the amount of work or the type of work that I can do in different light settings. I find myself able to be more creative in bright more natural light setting; however, when I need to just lock in and grind through a bunch or work I find a dark setting with a low artificial light to be best.


Design and Engineering

From my understanding design and engineering go hand in hand. When making, creating, or renovating just about anything you end up dealing with both engineering and design. I think that some of the best projects in just about any context deal with a balance of artistic design and theoretical engineering. What I mean by this is that if you go about making something without concern for the engineering then the final project my be appealing but not actually work and the same visa versa. For example, if you are building a chair you must take into account the how you want the chair to look and feel but, you must also make sure that this chair will hold up when it is put to use. Finding this balance is the hardest part in creating but also the most important.


Cross Hatching

I’ve never been to good at drawling and haven’t done too much of it outside of basic art classes, so I haven’t ever dove too far into specific techniques. After doing some research on cross hatching as well as just regular hatching, I was amazed with how it can transform a drawing. I had been sketching in mostly pen so I was unable to add any shading by pressing harder or lighter with the tool, like you can with a pencil. I found that with hatching you can create the same illusion of depth that  a a shading can do. In addition to this the hatching and spacing of the hatches can play a big role in creating texture in a sketch.

Variation in Cross Hatching


What do I want to do?

Recently during quarantine I had been spending lots of time at my grandmothers who lives close by to me. She has a large yard with a house that backs up to the woods. There were many trees that fell in storms this summer and I began to collect the wood chopping some into firewood but I also began to build things with some of it. I enjoyed working with the material and started to lean through experience about the properties of it; how it changes, the different types, hardness, etc. I would enjoy working in some way with wood for a part of this class. I would say that math is something influences my design. I have always enjoyed math and I find it interesting the ways it can contribute to art and design.