AFTER A BUSY week of homework and classes, students gather in The Co-Op on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, surrounded by friendship bracelets, crochet and piano music. As Lewis & Clark’s newest club, String Club creates a space on campus where music, fiber arts and debate come together every Sunday at 4 p.m.
Piper Harmon ’26 started the club as a senior at Cleveland High School in southeast Portland, and decided to form a new version of it at LC this semester.
“I was feeling really overwhelmed with school and sports,” Harmon said. “I wanted to have one place where I could feel like I could just relax, and having structure for that really helped me, so I wanted to bring that here because I feel like there are a lot of resources but there isn’t quite what I was looking for, which was a place where you can create.”
Harmon calls this “String Ideology”: having a safe space to create and play under the broad umbrella of strings. String Club lacks any of the seriousness that is so frequently found in art in academic settings, and instead focuses on the goofy and whimsical.
To Harmon, strings can be just about anything. There are easily identifiable strings, like embroidery, crochet, knitting and other fiber arts, but one can be far more creative with the term.
“We have had people interested in string instruments,” Harmon said. “A lot of people forget that piano is also a string instrument, which I like to remind them. There’s also a little bit (of a) silly aspect of it, which is like picking random stuff that you say is a string for that day and you try to debate whether or not it is a string.”
String Club found its home in the student-run coffee shop and venue, The Co-Op. Club members can relax in overstuffed art chairs and get coffee and tea from the volunteer barista-run Rusty Nail coffee shop. The eclectic mix of strings is well suited to the location, as many students sell fiber art pieces, stickers and jewelry in the space.
“They have these open mics where musicians and spoken word poets are coming together and sharing their art and people are selling their craft in there already,” Harmon said. “And so it’s already this place of collaborative, creative energy that lends itself really well to String Club.”
However, String Club has faced a few challenges already. Harmon has been unable to obtain official club status. According to her, Campus Activity Board said it is too similar to the Handworking Club. Currently, the club exists solely as a student-run and self-funded group.
“Even if it can’t be an official school-funded club, I’m still gonna have these meetings because I believe in the ideology and I think that a lot of people will, when given the opportunity, benefit from having this kind of safe, maker space,” Harmon said.
At the moment, the amount of strings provided by the club is limited to friendship bracelet material, but club members are encouraged to bring their own strings to work on, play music and debate string ideology together.
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