Falmouth student hits stride with skateboard design

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FALMOUTH — Sophie Herdrich is just beginning to find her voice as an artist, which is why she was so thrilled to take on the challenge of creating an original skateboard design.

Herdrich is a junior at Falmouth High School and also enrolled in the commercial art program at Portland Arts and Technology High School.

As part of a class project, Herdrich had the opportunity to create a 3D image, which she then painted on a skateboard built by one of the school’s woodworking students.

The skateboard was one of several student-made gifts presented to guidance counselors from the school districts that send students to PATHS.

Rebecca Davis, the student services coordinator at PATHS, said the skateboard was the first item chosen by one visiting counselor Ryan Soucie from Scarborough High School.

Davis said PATHS held its annual guidance breakfast in late September.

“During this time (the counselors) were given a tour, interacted with students and got a better idea of what the school has to offer,” she said. “At the end of the breakfast several student-made gifts were given out.”

Davis said some of the other gifts included CDs from the music program, cheese boards from woodworking, and a fresh produce basket from landscapes and gardens.

“When art is functional and used in daily life, outside the classroom, that’s where I find purpose in creating,” Herdrich said this week.

That’s why she was drawn to the commercial art program at PATHS.

“I love how someone walked up to me with piece of wood and said: ‘make it beautiful,'” she said. “It was so spontaneous, but ended up being my favorite 3D piece I’ve ever made.”

Herdrich said she first thought how a skate park reminded her of ocean waves, and then  decided the main focus was going to be a traditional-looking, but reggae-style mermaid, “complete with long purple dreadlocks.”

Diane Manzi, commercial art instructor at PATHS, said there are 24 students enrolled in the program this year.

“Commercial art is where talented art students learn how to make income and commercialize their own art,” Manzi said. “We do a variety of art including logo design, poster layout and design, card design and competitions with local businesses.”

She said the goal is for students to “get familiar with their own style” and to “build a strong portfolio for college or work.”

“Practice in drawing, painting and computer (design) are all part of the curriculum,” Manzi said. Students also create their own business cards, resumes and artist’s statements.

The commercial art students then put on a show each spring so they can showcase and sell their original work.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Sophie Herdrich, a junior at Falmouth High School, designed this skateboard in her commercial art class at Portland Arts and Technology High School.