The Craft Center is an important part of the University Union, with its variety of equipment and classes available. There is a huge kiln, potters’ wheels, a glass-blowing center, a full carpenters quarters, a bike shop, a photography darkroom and surfboard shaping shop.
The Craft Center was never very visible to the passerby, but things are changing with the current construction. A long window will be installed so students and faculty walking by can see all the activities going on, assistant director for programs Daren Conner said.
To make the Craft Center more accessible, it will now sport a roll-up type door similar to Julian’s. This will help to make the Craft Center more inviting because everything will be in plain sight, Conner said.
The biggest change of the construction is the relocation of the surfboard shaping shop. The plan is to eliminate the photography lab, and in its place provide a more functional surf shop.
“It’s too bad,” photography professor Robert Howell said. “That lab has served thousands of people with great experiences, too.” However, the art department is incorporating a beginner’s class that works with digital photography, but will maintain an advanced class for film, so “it’s not the end of it,” Howell said.
Conner took this into consideration, and agreed that taking out the darkroom will be unfortunate for those who used it, but the board shop will be used more often, with a higher turnout in terms of product.
The board shop’s new lighting will assist surfboard shapers in making the product as smooth as possible.
“The best way to have the light is with short horizontal light that hangs above the board stations. This forms a light blanket over the board and shows the imperfections,” Conner said.
The Craft Center construction should be done by the beginning of September. The board shaping classes will each accommodate six to seven students with multiple classes running throughout the quarter.
The shop has all the tools needed to make your own surfboard, and costs $150 for the class and more than $200 for glassing the board. Whether you are signed up for the board shaping class or already savvy, you do not need to be supervised to just roll in and let your artistic juices flow.