Red hot

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Jeannie French’s ceramics class is growing in popularity amongst her students.

“There’s a lot of freedom to make what you want,” said Jonah King, a senior dairy manufacturing major who has made projects such as gargoyles and fountains. “It’s a really great creative outlet.”

“We work with mainly hand-building techniques in the intro-level class and learn to glaze and fire kilns. By the time students are in Ceramics IV they know how to fully use the studio and try things like raku firing,” said French.

French, a professor of art, said the best learning experience for her students is “finding out that they can do something that they didn’t think they could do.”

“My favorite part of the class is that we get to choose projects that are related to what interests you,” said Nicole Appl, a junior graphic design major.

In Ceramics I, students make pieces such as a non-functional teapot and a figurative piece, as well as a large pinch piece. In Ceramics II, students get to choose their direction, including things such as throwing pots, sculptural hand building or making functional pieces.

“The great thing about it is that there is no right or wrong; we get to be very creative,” said Jennifer Pogany, a junior human development and family studies major.

The more advanced ceramics classes become, the more independent and more involved in the use of the studio and the different types of firing.

“It takes about 20 times before you really get a good feel for firing,” said French.

The advanced students this semester participated in the Empty Bowls project and made over 100 bowls, said French. The students sold the bowls in The Union. For $5, people could have their pick of the bowls, along with soup and bread provided by The Union. The students raised almost $600, all of which went to the St. Francis House for the Homeless in Sioux Falls.

Students are graded on effort and participation, the design of their projects, as well as keeping a sketchbook with research on different ceramic artists and learning to do the techniques well.

“We try to explore national or international artists, as well,” said French. “Every year I go to a conference and take pictures of all the ceramic portraits there.”

All four ceramics classes cover a variety of techniques that students learn and many enjoy. Ceramics classes will be offered in the spring of 2009.

“We would love to have anybody,” said French. “We have fun in here; the more the better.”

#1.882104:1910705367.jpg:Ceramics.CMYK.RB.jpg:Kaleb Rowley, a senior media production major, participates in raku firing.:Ruth Brown