Life with Things

Fall 2019
Freshman - Sophomore
Class Size: 46
16 Credits per quarter
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On what objects do we place importance and why? What can material things reveal about our desires, our experiences, our personas, and our relationships? Drawing from anthropology, sociology, visual art and material studies, we will seek to understand cultural practices that entwine human lives with the lives of material things. These practices include collecting, gleaning, connoisseurship, gift exchange, play, design, and artistic creation. We will use ethnography to understand how we engage with material things, developing a field notebook that documents our observations and cultural insights. As part of a three-day field trip to Seattle we will hone our ethnographic skills through object and neighborhood studies, and take in several museum exhibits.

Students in this program should look forward to spending a significant amount of time outside of class working on studio work. We will attend the Evergreen Art Lecture Series, and weekly seminars, lectures and workshops will center on discussions of craft, art, and design. Reading and writing in preparation for weekly seminars will feed visual and material research done in the studio. Regular work reviews will encourage listening, group problem solving, and thoughtful critique.  The development of a regular drawing practice will be emphasized and students will keep a sketchbook specific to the program. 

With the goal of developing a personal visual vocabulary, participants will begin by discussing what we admire and collect, while considering and questioning our artistic predispositions. Students will quickly move on to create a collection of completed objects, using material experiments to develop their ideas and explore the line between what makes a piece done or undone. In the fine metalsmithing studio we will focus on hollow form techniques, advanced construction, and joining skills. Using mixed media in the context of metalsmithing will also be investigated, and discussed alongside broad considerations of material use, value, hoarding, and waste.

Greener Foundations:  This program will incorporate Greener Foundations, a holistic course designed for first-time, first-year students. Faculty and staff collaborate to bring study skills, academic planning, health and wellness education, advising, and more into the classroom. More information at Greener Foundations


Fall 2019 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 10198
So (16): 10199
Jr - Sr (1 - 16): 10431

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory For

arts, design, social sciences

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$220 fee will cover ethnographic field kits, supplies for the fine metal working studio, and room, board, travel, and museum expenses for a two-night field trip to Seattle for ethnographic fieldwork and museum studies.


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 B1107 - Workshop


Date Revision
2019-04-04 $220 required fee added to catalog listing