Tucked away on the far west side of campus, the Studio Arts Center houses the tools that make creative ideas a reality. One of these facilities is for clay. Giant kilns that reach thousands of degrees, glazes and colorful test tiles, long rows of benches and workstations where students turn lumps of clay into art. Nicholas Wood, art and art history professor, guides students of varying skill levels in a three-hour long studio class.
Clay is very alluring, clay senior Michelle Grier said. Grier was originally an art education major, but she made the switch after getting a taste of both throwing clay and teaching.
The processes required to make a clay piece are long and sometimes tedious. Students help each other load kilns, offer advice and talk about their projects. But often the room is quiet and still, as everyone puts in their headphones and focuses on creating something lovely out of mud.
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Clay senior Michelle Grier, left, throws old newspapers into a fire while clay junior Clayton Oliver reaches for a bowl still inside the kiln during a studio class Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. This process is called "Raku firing," a method in which pieces are taken from the kiln and immediately placed into buckets filled with paper, which catches fire and chars any place the piece was not glazed.
Nicholas Wood, art and art history professor, shows a set of unfinished tea bowls to beginner clay students during a studio class Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. The students in Wood's class are a mix of skill levels, but he works closest with the beginner students to guide them through the complex steps.
Thrown clay pieces dry on shelves and wait to be fired for the first time Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. The Studio Arts Center houses a variety of technology and tools for the arts, clay being only one of them.
Art education senior Isaiah Montgomery shapes clay on a pottery wheel during a studio class Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. Throwing clay requires the use of a pottery wheel to shape and thin the piece.
Art education senior Isaiah Montgomery kneads a lump of clay Jan. 30 in the Studio Arts Center. Montgomery had dried some wet clay and reshaped it to be usable again.
Clay senior Michelle Grier wheels a cart full of greenware, dried pottery that hasn't been fired yet, into the kiln room during a studio class Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. Grier is graduating in May and spends much of her time helping her classmates and offering advice.
Art education junior Jessica Lasater forms clay into a base for a pitcher during a studio class Jan. 30 in the Studio Arts Center. Lasater said she fell in love with clay after working on a claymation video.
Thrown and sculpted clay pieces are stacked carefully inside a kiln for a bisque firing Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. Students take time from working on their individual pieces to work together on the tedious task.
Art education junior Katlyn Sutton paints glaze onto a bowl during a studio class Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. Sutton said she likes to make art that has a use.
A pottery wheel rests covered in clay shavings and carving tools Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. These wheels are used to make uniform bowls, vases, plates and other similar pieces.
Clay junior Clayton Oliver, front left, and art education junior Jessica Lasater, back left, talk and work with clay junior Daniela Garcia on Feb. 13 in the Studio Arts Center. Their studio class is three hours long and provides opportunities for students to take breaks from their work and socialize.
A clay skull and other sculpted pieces sit on shelves waiting to be fired Feb. 6 in the Studio Arts Center. A clay piece must be dried, bisque fired, glazed and then fired again to be fully finished, and the process can take weeks.
Art education senior Jacob Steed talks with clay senior Michelle Grier during a studio class Feb. 13 in the Studio Arts Center. The two talked about the progress of their projects.
Clay junior Clayton Oliver holds a finished Raku-fired piece during a studio class Feb. 16 in the Studio Arts Center. The charring technique makes the pottery unsafe to eat on and is only for decorative purposes.