Across the country, professors are adapting to the developing changes happening in the nation. These changes are even more grueling for classes where meeting face to face is essential. One prime example of this is in Ceramics.
Ceramics is an art class that deals with making objects and other materials by the use of clay and heat.
Lisa Conway is a ceramics professor who has taught at Clark College for 17 years but has practiced it for over 30 years. Like many other professors, Conway had to rethink the way she had been teaching at Clark in order to adapt to the working conditions.
Ceramics students typically have most of their tools already paid for in the lab fees. However, some materials need to be paid separately, like the clay which they can buy through the bookstore website and then come to campus pick up, as well as a kit that contains tools, different glazes, and wood boards. They come back to Campus weekly to drop their pieces off to be kiln fired.
“People are hungry for something to do with their hands right now to express themselves and get a little bit creative somehow, and ceramics is a great class to do that,” Conway said.
Conway said one obstacle students may face is getting to Clark and dropping off their pieces, including the loss of sense of a community between instructors and students.
“I think a big reason why people take a ceramics class, or maybe an art class is for the sense of community, and that’s been really hard to get to the same level,” Conway said. One resource Conaway has been using is Zoom, where students can talk more one on one. “It’s not the same thing as being in a classroom together,” Rossi said.
Kate Rossi is a running start student at Clark College who is graduating this Spring with her AA. Rossi plans on heading to Central Washington University to study actuarial science, math and statistics discipline which assesses risk.
Ceramics was Rossi’s first art class at Clark. After having taken pottery her first two years in high school, Rossi said that was a big influence on why she chose to take ceramics at Clark.
Rossi said at first she was skeptical.“I had emailed my professor before the quarter and said ‘how are we even going to do this’, you know this is such a hands-on class,” Rossi said.
One obstacle Rossi said she’d faced was the lack of tools. In a traditional ceramics class, there are big work tables and specialized tools and equipment. Because many students don’t have access to these resources, they’ve had to improvise by using the resources around them.
“It’s been really cool to see what you can use out of your house,” Rossi said.“It just proves that you don’t need a studio to create art you can do it from your own home.”
“The good thing is that it gives us ample time to work on the pieces because we’re not limited to the time we have in class, were able to be at home and work on it when we want throughout the day, be able to sit there for five hours at a time rather than having set times to work.”
To future ceramics students, Rossi wanted them to know to remain open-minded.
“I feel like making art is more important now than ever,” Conway said.