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You are the voice. We are the echo.
The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
Sydney Lane.jpeg

Personalizing passion: Taylor makers showcase skills, start-ups

Creativity, connection sewn through campus

All art speaks.

Each work tells a story, a single message that can pass between maker and patron. In the Taylor community especially, that message is often personal, with passion imprinted on every piece.

For Emily Clementz, the recently named interim director of Bergwall Hall, that passion has rich roots. Her love of woodworking started with the time she would spend with her father as a child, and even now, family and function are two major reasons she continues to create.

“Slowly the project became less of me watching and helping and then turned into me creating and every once in a while him [Clementz’s father] helping me out if I needed an extra hand,” Clementz said. “I like to say I love making beautiful, functional things.”

With that foundation of love and beauty, Clementz’s work often reflects something about its buyer. At Shop the Loop events of years past, Clementz’s keychains — made from real leather and wood burned with a design of the patron’s choosing— tell as much about her own history as the person buying from her.

As she’s moved into sign work, too, Clementz’s design choices have even more deeply encapsulated that personal touch. It’s not just the words she chooses to craft into the wood; it’s the wood itself, the symbolism of the tree it came from displaying the overlap of intention and interaction.

“It's not just a random keychain, but it's something that I can wood burn on and make it something really meaningful to whoever is purchasing my art,” Clementz said. “Some of the symbolism surrounding the type of wood or even the type of stain or [the] oil that gets put on the wood can be purposeful.”

That outpouring of purpose blessing a community through crafting is also what led sophomore Sydney Lane to continue bracelet making and to create her business, Flower Child. 

Lane has been crafting bracelets since she was a child and, like Clementz, found it to be an expressive form of bonding both with her mother and with friends.

“Crafting doesn't have to be difficult,” Lane said. “It's a social activity as well.”

Working as a camp counselor in the summers, Lane recounted how bracelet making has brought her campers together. Students who had no context for one another prior to the camp will string beads together or weave thread to represent their friendship by the end of a single week.

In some ways, it’s not so different from the TikTok community that inspired senior Rain Taylor, an anthropology major, to begin crafting in new mediums.

While Taylor had always been creative, she didn’t start crocheting until she watched a crochet video close to two years ago. Since that time, she’s learned to make hats, sweaters, flowers and more.

“I really do try to push myself to really get into the community,” Taylor said. “I found this huge community of Black women crocheters too and it was so fun.”

Having a shared way to express herself, Taylor feels able to claim her creativity as her own.

Regardless of medium and regardless of whether she’s using her work to advocate, or for expression, Taylor looks at crafting as a form of love.

“I think that's hopefully where my future takes me — somewhere where I'm able to create businesses that benefit people and leave legacies, that then people can just take over and still support themselves,” Taylor said.

That sense of community is what art is all about: sharing stories, sharing pieces of oneself as part of a larger conversation. It’s about preserving passion and leaving a legacy as well-crafted as the work itself.