Clayton Friemuth shows off the home he built. Though he can't live in it, he's still proud of his castle. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Clayton Friemuth shows off the home he built. Though he can't live in it, he's still proud of his castle. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Jesse Grant's almost finished his starship, and Clayton Friemuth's swimming pool is a real gem.

All in the work of making the grade with artistic class...

"This is my second project. The first one's at home - I made a full-size shield out of plywood boards, two brace boards and an eighth-inch strip of metal, some screws, nails and paint," said Grant, sharing about his three-dimensional art projects he's done for Linda Wangsness's Kingsland 3-D art class, as he turned over the "Star Wars" foam core Imperial star destroyer model he's finishing just before the end of the semester.

Grant, who aspires to someday venture into architecture, engineering or video game design, has taken all the high school art classes available to him and is still enthused by the prospect of getting to spend more time in the art classroom, particularly working with three-dimensional art projects.

"It interests me," he said simply, showing how his destroyer is built using basic engineering concepts. Drawing up the plans for the destroyer took a couple days.

"I kind of plan as I go along, make the big stuff and then start making the smaller stuff," he said. "A lot has to do with ingenuity, your own plan, your problem-solving skills. The ship has three internal supports - a ridge that gives it structure and makes it really strong. If you push on it, it's not going to move."

Challenges he encountered while constructing the piece were "keeping a steady hand while cutting the pieces and not messing up the measurements," but once he's finished adding the foam core board details, he plans to paint his starship to match the ones in the "Star Wars" series, then hang it in his room at home. He's been impressed "every now and then" by the results of his initial inspiration.

"I'm really happy to see some of my ideas actually worked, that I did it," he commented. He added that he likes being in Wangsness's 3-D class because it's an opportunity to expand his creativity. "I like the freedom - she lets us choose our own projects instead of having them there for us."

Friemuth, who'd like to pursue a life as a mechanical engineer, surveyed his foam core model farm, saying, "The plan was just to build a farm. It came out the way I wanted - I just drew the house on paper, and the rest of the stuff, I did in my head."

And the farm isn't just a little diorama. No, it's a platform on which he constructed a two-story house, a garage, a truck for the driveway, a swing set, doghouse and a blue glass gem-encrusted swimming pool complete with a waterslide.

"I built the house out of foam core, the deck is out of popsicle sticks, the trees are pinecones I painted green, there's different paper for the wallpaper, and there are beds and chairs from old dollhouses," he said. "It has a TV, a couch, chairs and stairs...the stairs were tricky because it took a while to think about how to do it. There were a few challenges to building the house - after I painted the house and put it together, it curled a bit. I like this class because you can do basically anything you want, as long as it's 3-D."

While five other students learned to knit scarves on needles, Katrina Grabau was knitting a scarf on something a whole lot nearer and more personal - her left arm.

"It's fast and fun," she said. "I like to make this into infinity scarves, and I've made a hammock, too."

Wangsness watched as Grabau finished the scarf she'd begun less than half an hour before, noting that the student is a very talented potter and should consider doing more with clay after she's done working with yarn.

"She's extremely creative, not afraid to just do it," said Wangsness. "Right now, she's working on a clay 'Minion' from the movie 'Despicable Me.'"

The verdict?

That's a girl who knows the three-dimensional ropes of clay.