Illustration by Kat Barton

Students turn their unusual skills into cash

By Kendall Arlasky

A variety of traditional on-campus jobs are offered to students at Lewis & Clark. Students can work in the Bon, build sets for theater productions or act as a tour guide for prospective students. However, there are other, less traditional ways to make money on campus, and some students have chosen to freelance instead.

Charlotte Copp ’18 is a freelance knitter who knits clothing for her friends for a fee. Copp began knitting after receiving encouragement from friends and family.

“I didn’t knit before I came to LC,” Copp said. “I learned to knit during winter break of my sophomore year. My mom and my best friend peer pressured me into it. I just got really good pretty quickly.”

Copp made it into a business when she ran out of projects for herself.

“I was running out of projects to do last semester and I posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook and said if anyone wants me to make them anything, just buy the yarn,” Copp said. “I want to complete more projects, but I don’t like to keep my knitting. If I can do something I really like and then get rid of it, that’s perfect for me.”

Copp loves to get creative with her projects and says overall that it is a relaxing experience.

“I like to do color work, when you interchange different colors to create a pattern or a picture,” Copp said. “I find it relaxing and I choose patterns that aren’t overly complicated so that I can do them mindlessly.”

Similarly, Rae Pich ’20 started using her skills as a photographer to freelance at a young age.

“One of my friends got signed as a model really young, when we were about 16, and this happened when I had just began shooting,” Pich said. “So as she was building her portfolio I was also building mine. The modeling agency ended up using my work and I got paid for it.”

Now Pich takes photographs for students at LC, mostly her friends.

“Last semester I wasn’t in a photography class so I was mostly  shooting for fun. I would negotiate freelance photography shoots, then they wouldn’t pay me,” Pich said. “They’d give me a bottle of wine or a pack of cigarettes, or sometimes they would take me out to eat. All as compensation for me taking their photos and then giving them access to the photos.”

Pich notes that there is a delicate balance in professional photography.

“The main point in this business is for people to know your name and know who you are,” Pich said. “So, if I was just asking for money all the time and no one was posting my photos then it would be such a waste. It’s finding a balance between being a young aspiring photographer and then asking to get paid for it and not feeling bad because I don’t have a professional background yet.”

For Pich, her shoots are a long and complicated  process.

“I have to think about the setting, the lighting and finding the right people to shoot as well as styling,” Pich said. “It’s a process and with film you have to be very intentional. If I only have three rolls, that’s 96 exposures and I’m gonna make everyone count.”

Despite the long process, Pich describes freelance photography as a rewarding experience.

“I love how excited people get when they receive your work,” Pich said. “Whether I think it’s a great image or not, they love it and it makes me want to take more. I think it’s really cute and it makes it more fun.”

Another person turning their passions into a business is Camille Wong  ’20 who makes ceramic pieces.

“I don’t sell all my stuff for the money,” Wong said over email. “I give a lot away for free. I get donations for pieces and if I price a piece it is based on material price. I make a lot for people because it was inspired by them so it is very casual. They love the pieces because they are unique.”

Wong discovered her passion for ceramics through an entry-level class at LC.

“It all started when I took the ceramics 1 class here at the college,” Wong said. “I then became a ceramics minor and fell in love with it. I had never done ceramics before coming to LC. The work done with ceramics has not changed my future plans. I do love art and having an art to express myself thought is always important to balance my life, since I am a Chemistry major.”

Since that first entry level course, she has made a variety of pieces for her loved ones.

“My main clients are friends and family,” Wong said. “My friends are very supportive and they inspired me to make new things in new ways. I have an Instagram for my art and I post on Facebook.”

Wong cares more about sharing her work than making money out of the process.

“I spend more money on the clay and more time making than selling,” Wong said. “It’s very casual. If I get money that is cool, but I do it for the art and the happy faces. I like to share my love of art. Also, my ceramics are all functional pieces so they get a usable piece of art.”


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