NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Finals week at any university usually involves quieter study than the often noisy Creating and Making Lab at the University of Oklahoma.

But Lecturer Chelsea Holcomb very much wanted her furniture design students to get past pushing mere paper, and to get their hands busy at actually bringing their plans to life.

“I think putting your hands on something and building something from scratch,” she insists, “is really important in learning how things go together.”

Interior Design major Ava Moore remembers picking up a drill once or twice, but here she had to take a design for an adjustable desk from drawing to finished product.

Moore says, “A lot of our projects in school are theoretical and, so, we never get to see them built.”

Ava Moore poses with desk she made
Ava Moore

Megan Walters didn’t have a lot of shop or paint booth experience either, but teachers encouraged her to not be shy about designing or building.

“Go big or go home,” she smiles.

Making a cushioned chair required cutting a few extra angles because of mistakes, but she was happy in the end.

Describing her easy chair, she says, “It’s almost like a cushion on top of a trampoline. If you look underneath the seat I incorporated webbing into the bottom.”

Megan Walters

Grace Pettijohn enjoyed the process too.

She had to learn to use a plasma cutter in making her chair and footstool.

Getting past the first day, she recalls, was hardest.

“Oh my gosh,” she agrees. “Making my first cut! That was so scary.”

Grace Pettijohn

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Holcomb, who came to this class with a background in architecture, insisted the pieces her students made had to be functional.

“That was a requirement,” she says. “Fortunately, all the pieces met the requirements and supported human weight which was great.”

Their final wasn’t so much exam as show at the Mainsite Gallery in Norman.

Design and build is a combination that constructs and often rare bridge between Career Tech and University levels, between paper and the power tools necessary to bring it to life.

The process, they learned, is all in the details.

To learn more about the Furniture Design class and to see more examples of students’ work go to the OU College of Architecture website.

Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union