Senior art major profile: Mabel Ester Kessler

By Anna Van Voorhis

Why you ought to know her: Mabel Kessler ‘12 first became enchanted with the Macalester art department during her freshman fall through her FYC, 3D Design. Ironically, it was her third choice. Although she had seriously considered being a psych major, she is now a senior Studio Art major, with Anthropology and Hispanic Studies minors. Mabel revealed, “the art department just sorta trapped me.” It not only trapped her, but embraced her with bottomless cups of debatably good coffee, a standing invitation to the Myklebust-Sears Farm and a motley crew of 3D designers. The majority of this group went on to be art majors, and therefore will be featured here as the semester goes on. During her Junior Spring, Mabel went abroad to Bareclona, along with fellow art majors Hillary Frey ‘12 and Mike Fausz ‘12. Her curriculum was centered around an architecture studio course. Although Kessler had been interested in architecture for a while (she even considered joining the 3-2 Architecture Program that Macalester has with Washington University), her time in Barcelona ignited her interest in urban design. Mabel continued her international studies of art last summer, when she took a class in Honduras about the traditional craft of carpentry, especially woodcarving. Although she has had some exposure to woodcarving during her time at Mac, she wanted to expand the breadth of her knowledge in the field. She therefore attended a vocational high school in the small city of Valle de Angeles, where she was the only girl in a class of about 15 boys, ages 11 to 16. There she learned to carve in both the classical and Mayan style, both of which are widely marketed to tourists. Although Kessler said she couldn’t confirm or deny rumors, sources close to her have speculated that her senior art show will probably involve elements of both woodcarving, like those she perfected in Honduras, and bronze casting. After graduation Mabel hopes to get her masters in Urban Design or Restorative Architecture. But before she hits the books again, she plans on taking some time off. Cuba is at the top of her list, and if she finds a way (legality TBD) to get there, then she hopes to spend the summer, working with a Cuban restoration architect. Stay tuned for information regarding where and when you can come gawk at Mabel’s work.