The earthy smell of clay being manipulated in the hands of summer students invaded my senses as I stepped into the ceramics classroom near the Grill.
Students were immediately hard at work as they had an upcoming exhibition on August 3rd, from five to seven at night in the Lamont Gallery.
Moa Lopez, a student of Cuban descent, spoke about how “all the five weeks we’ve spent here have been used to prepare for the exhibition.”
“I really enjoyed the class,” Moa explained. “It’s relaxing when you finally get the hang of the techniques that revolve around ceramics.”
Many students really enjoyed the whole class, and are especially proud of all the work they’ve done. However, as Ana Paula, a brown haired student from Dominican Republic, correctly stated: “Ceramics is a process. It’s all about patience and time.”
To successfully make a ceramic creation, one must prepare the clay, shape it, and bake the creation in a kiln, an oven that is used often twice: once to bake the clay, and another time to bake the glaze. Glaze is used on top of the baked pieces to paint the clay. It is used instead of paint since paint would melt.
Students learned to both use their own hands and the wheel, another ceramics tool, to create cups, mugs, bowls, and other keepers. In fact, these projects, among other “unique and ‘homemade’ art”, in the words of Mazie Gee, a curly-haired girl, can be found at the art exhibition.
The ceramic, art pieces that were made were from a bunch of projects that were done throughout the summer session. Some of the pieces were from slab assignments, which according to Mazie, is when clay is rolled out instead of put onto the wheel, and then cut out to create cups, bowls, mugs, and other things.
Coming to the art exhibition means so much to the ceramic students. Learning ceramics is not easy as it may look. Moa specifically described how “most of the struggle came from learning how to use the wheel and mastering its ways.”
The wheel becomes a handy tool for the ceramic students to get their creative minds flowing, and allows more room to create even more things. “We spent most of the time on the wheel to really get used to it,” Moa said.
The opportunities presented to the students are all thanks to Wesley Coombes, the ceramics teacher. “He’s a really great person, an amazingly talented ceramics teacher, and extremely funny” — Mazie visibly smiles at the mention of Mr. Coombes. “He shared his knowledge about ceramics, which is what us students need for this class, but that knowledge opened various doors for us, whether he knows it or not.