Roughly during the first three weeks of class, we covered various survival skills. The first artistry that the class attempted to tackle was creating a fire. The process takes a lot of time and energy and, in my opinion, the task is tedious. Materials that we used to for the operation were a plank of wood, a wooden stick, a saw, dried leaves and other fuel and a carving knife. The goal, as claimed by the Youtube videos seen in class, is to make a deep, narrow hole close to the edge of one of the plank’s sides. When this is done, the wooden stick is to be inserted into the hole and twist rapidly, shredding hot sawdust. The hot sawdust would then start a fire when contacted by a little oxygen and the dried leaves. In reality, though, the process is more complicated than instructed. You need to possess a skill at twisting the wooden stick in order to get really hot sawdust, which none of the students were able to do. We were at this activity for the whole hour and a half of class and fire was not created. We did not even get the chance to make paint for rock art. Professor Dodd, however, promised us that we would make a fire before the semester finishes, so I am excited to see what she has in mind.

The next project that we completed in class was making mud bricks. I did not find the activity to be fun or that interesting, but at least we were successful in making sturdy bricks. The ingredients for this job consisted of water, dirt and hay. We imprinted USC logos onto our creation and I am curious to see how our bricks turned out once they are completely dried. My favorite undertakings that we have done thus far are the mozzarella-cheese-making and the making of clay oil lamps, trays and jars.

– Leticia Samaniego