by Rena Klingenberg.
This is a true story of something that seemed like a good idea when I was 18. But now, a few decades later, I can’t imagine what I was thinking!
Eons ago when I was in college I was majoring in Art, which I really enjoyed.
But I often had to carry my big, awkward art class assignments (various paintings, sculptures, and other projects) around the campus as I went from one class to another.
One semester I had to take a class called Three-Dimensional Design.
And midway through this class, we were assigned a project that involved making three hollow plywood cubes of different sizes, and putting them together in a way that suggested motion.
The biggest cube had to be something like 18 inches, and all the wood had to be well sanded and painted.
Well, I had never done any woodworking, so this project became a nightmare for me.
I somehow got the cubes constructed and attached to a plywood platform.
I don’t remember much about actually making it, but my finished project looked about like this:
It had rough edges and was very rickety, but it mostly fulfilled the basics of the assignment.
I used a permanent marker to write my name on the bottom of its plywood platform, and took it to school with me the next day.
So of course I had to carry it to the building where my Three-Dimensional Design class was held.
This is how I looked carrying it across the campus:
I was very embarrassed about carrying it, and vowed never to be seen in public with it again!
I couldn’t wait to turn it in and be rid of it forever.
By the following week, the professor had graded our wooden cube assignments. (I got a C on mine. I’m sure it was a fair grade.)
And of course he gave our cube sculptures back to us so we could take them home again.
My heart sank. I had somehow forgotten that I’d have to take it back with me after grading!
So a few minutes later I was walking to my next class – crossing the Art Building parking lot and reluctantly carrying my huge, dorky cube sculpture as I threaded my way through all the parked cars.
Just when I decided it was too embarrassing to carry this thing one more step, I noticed that I was walking right next to an ancient red pickup truck with wooden sides.
It had a completely empty truck bed.
Without even stopping to think, I lifted my cube monstrosity up over the tailgate, and set it down in the back of the ancient red pickup truck.
I walked quickly away without looking back. I was finally free from the cube project!
About a week later, I was waiting to cross the street in front of the Art Building after my Graphic Arts class.
I looked up and saw an ancient red pickup truck with wooden sides, driving right past me.
My heart stopped.
It was the same truck where I had deposited my cube project!
Of course, the cube sculpture was no longer in the back of the truck.
But then I saw the driver.
He was my Three-Dimensional Design professor – the one who had assigned the cube project!
Of all the vehicles in the Art Building parking lot, I had unknowingly chosen his truck for disposing of that project.
And even if he hadn’t recognized whose project it was by sight, he had certainly recognized my name written on the bottom of it in permanent marker!
I was horrified.
How could I ever go to that professor’s class again?
For the rest of the semester I dreaded every session of his class, waiting for the axe to fall.
But the professor never said a word to me about finding my cube project in the back of his truck.
His silence about it was almost a worse torture than if he’d confronted me about it.
To this day I wonder what he thought when he discovered my cube sculpture crouched in the truck bed, waiting for him after work.
Did he think it was a statement? a prank? a gift?
And what did he do with it?
Maybe he has a whole collection of students’ hastily discarded Three-Dimensional Design projects in his garage.
I will never know.
But I learned my lesson – I have never, EVER disposed of anything in the back of a truck again.
(Moral of the story: One of the best things about creating jewelry is that it’s a nice, SMALL artform to carry around!) 🙂
What a hilarious story!! I just hope that professor knows what wonderful things you are doing now. Your site has been a great source of information and inspiration to me over the years, and I just want to thank you for that, and the chuckle.
What a wonderful story, Rena. I can almost feel your experience. Looking back through decades of useless school projects, I give you credit for not breaking it apart right after the class. I know I would have either dumped it at the first garbage can, or immediately broken it into pieces on the spot. I would have removed my name from it though.
That is so funny. I can just see myself doing something like that and regretting it forever. LMAO What a great history you have. Thank you for all the wonderful information you share with all of us.
I just love it! I could so see myself doing exactly the same thing when I was younger. Aw the memories and the stories that we can tell as we get older.
OMG hahaha what a great story!! So glad you shared that. It kind of goes with the saying, what goes around comes around. Professor asked for a difficult/creative design from his students then you just shared it with him 🙂
Tammie E says:
A funny story. We all look back at things we did, which seemed logical at the time, and scratch our heads in a “what was I thinking” moment. Thanks for sharing.
I love that you shared this story, Rena! It is so funny! We all have those kind of moments, but usually keep them to ourselves, thinking we’re the only one, or trying to convey a certain image. It’s so much more fun to share them and laugh together! I really like your sense of humour.
Kathie L says:
Funny! ….I was thinking, wouldn’t it be hysterical if your professor responded to this article….. THANK YOU for the chuckle!
OMG Rena…what a very funny story… I’m cracking up over here! Knowing me I think I would have confronted him after the last class just out of curiosity and to let him know what was going on in your head when you disposed of it..thanks for sharing your story, this made my morning. Love the stick figures, it just added to the humor!
I just HAD to tell you how hard I laughed *tears!* You must find him after all these years and find out his thoughts.
That was brilliant.
Rena Klingenberg says:
Thank you all for your fun feedback on this episode from my dark past! 🙂
LOL – if my Three-Dimensional Design professor popped in here and left a comment I’d probably hide behind my couch!
And even though he would be somewhat ancient all these years later, I’m sure he’s never forgotten being the recipient of my discarded cube project! 🙂
Actions are sometimes louder than words. That was awesome!
christine hill says:
Rena I am beginning to feel that you are the Zena Rena of the handmade jewelry business. Your sense of writing style is welcoming, especially with your wonderful humorous tales. I also am always getting into funny little situations so I am glad to know tthere are at least 2 of us on this earth. Just in this short time of reading my first newsletter I feel like I will be a part of your community of admiring and loyal followers. I am not an enthusiastic follower of technology as I am a traditional snailmail lady but I am beginning to understand the value of this kind of communicating-sharing-support for eachother on our own little journeys. I am looking forward to seeing where I will be going on my adventure of learning and becoming a more confident creator and SELLER( I am terrible about money. Wished we still traded in seashells!). Here’s to everyones success whatever form it takes. I will never be able to look at a red truck again without thinking of the look on your face when you saw it was his truck. Best to all,Christine
Rena Klingenberg says:
Welcome, Christine! I’m so glad you’ve found us here.
Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I love the funny oddities life brings us – and I think I’m somewhat of a magnet for them! It sounds like you may be too. 🙂
I can understand your feelings about technology. I love doing a lot of things the very old-fashioned way (I make cookies from scratch and do all the mixing with a big wooden spoon – noisy electric beaters kind of ruin the experience for me).
Looking forward to seeing more of you – and hopefully your jewelry as well! 🙂
Perhaps your teacher said nothing because the cube sculpture was not in his truck when he left. A modern art aficionado was driving by the campus and saw an absolutely amazing, artistically provocative, rough-textured modern sculpture sitting in a truck bed…. *gasp* UNGUARDED! That was no way to treat a sculpture and certainly not the proper method to transport it. His immediate intervention was essential to preserve it! A frantic scan showed the coast was clear; he snatched the treasure, tucked it into his car, and headed for his apartment.
Unfortunately, he lacked the space to keep his prize, he quickly called an art dealer he knew in Philadelphia, an adequate distance that the lack of provenence would not draw undue attention.
Its $275,000 appraised value was relatively low since no one could find any reference to the artist in their databases. It sold quickly to a connoisseur of early Deconstructivism who declared the scrawled signature a later addition; he was quite certain it was an early work by Katherine McCoy.
Nancy Keane says:
I needed a good laugh this morning. Thank you!!!!!
Deb Houck says:
What a wonderful, funny story! Hey, who knows, maybe that professor visits your site and is reading this story right now! 🙂
Love your site, Rena! Your tips and stories are great, as well as your videos and books!
Sandy Kane says:
I had such a good laugh at that story! I bet your art prof thought you were pissed getting a ‘C’ and that’s why you dumped your project in his truck! ????
OMG Rena I have just laughed out loud. Then, of course, had to read the story to dear hubby and he, too, laughed out loud. Too, too, funny.
Dita Basu says:
Great story Rena…
Delia Stone says:
OMG! I about spit my coffee on the computer screen! That’s a fantastic story. I laughed so hard. I felt that way about one of my projects. Hated it so much I said I didn’t finish it so I didn’t have to put it up for critique for everyone to see and judge. I know I lost 10 points for that, but I felt that was better than the whole class seeing and judging my monstrosity. It may have felt excruciatingly embarrassing at the time, but it left you with a GREAT story to tell – and a good story, when told well, is an art form all it’s own. 🙂