Students Are Fired Up About Ceramics

A Q&A Session with current ceramics students


Somer Alrai

A student carefully measures the dimensions of a clay project.

Senior Julia Cho
What do students do in a ceramics course?
For [my class] period there are three different levels: intermediate, advanced and AP. When we come into class, we get canvas boards, water, sponge, tools and our projects. For AP at least, we have a portfolio that we work on [to] submit for the AP test and it has to follow a theme. We basically just work on our projects the whole time and we clean up the last five to ten minutes. Some days, we have critiques where we ask a question [about a project], say something constructive and suggest something that they can do.

What will you take away from your experience in this course?
Patience, for sure. Some projects take forever and it is so tedious. It [can] take so long and it’s so frustrating. Sometimes, it just ends up blowing up like after you spend days and weeks on it.

What project are you working on right now?
I’m working on a flower candle holder. [It is a] lilypad and in the center it is a candleholder. [The leaf of the] lilypad will be a little tray for the matches and other candles.

Do you recommend students joining this class and why?
Yes, of course. Ceramics is my favorite class of the day. I wish I could do it all day and it’s a nice break in the school day. I think it’s worth trying for sure, and it’s really fun [because] you have a lot of creativity and the advantage of 3D.

Senior Hannah Beenen
How does the atmosphere in the classroom affect how you work on your current projects?
To me, class is a safe space where we can all just hang out and create. The atmosphere is welcoming and I always feels comfortable sharing my ideas and collaborating. I’m in advanced ceramics, and each time I come to class, I’m inspired by the gamut of artistic possibilities around me.

What benefits have you experienced as a result of taking ceramics?
I love this class and would really recommend it to anyone. As someone who’s admittedly not the best at painting or drawing, I wasn’t sure how well I’d do, but Mrs. Tully is amazing and supportive of all our creative endeavors and I’ve accomplished more this year than I thought I ever could. I made a multi-media art portfolio to submit to colleges, something I’d never considered, and some of my pieces even made it to an art show at city hall. I’ve also made so many wonderful friends that I’m sure I’ll keep for years to come. Overall it’s been one of my favorite high school memories, and I’m so glad I got to experience it before graduating.

What are you currently working on in this class?
Right now, we’re working on a ‘message in a bottle’ project. We make either a coil or slab hand-built bottle with a wheel-thrown neck, then choose a quote and create a corresponding image and theme to tie the piece together. It’s the largest project we’ve made so far (about a foot tall) and I’m excited to see how they all turn out.

An Advanced Ceramics student works on an intricate design for an in-progress piece. (Somer Alrai)
Ceramics students crafted Grecian-style urns and decorated them with detailed designs. (Somer Alrai)
Senior Julia Cho is currently working on her flower candle holder.
(Photo Courtesy)
A ceramics student diligently shapes a vase, using water to make sure the clay does not break. (Somer Alrai)