Ceramics Course Provides Students with Therapeutic Break

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Photo Courtesy of Kayla Nguyen

Junior Kayla Nguyen presents her ceramics creation of “Balloony,” inspired by the television show “Phineas and Ferb,” at Fine Arts Week.

Ariana Wu, Staff Writer

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the other buildings on campus that are often brimming with test anxiety, stressful projects and homework assignments, the relaxing atmosphere of the ceramics classroom provides an opportunity for students to focus their minds on art.

In visual art teacher Donovan Miller’s ceramics class, students work at their own pace without following specific guidelines for their projects and find a creative outlet. Miller’s students describe him as a relatively quiet person who is very obviously passionate about his work and supportive of his students’ artistic endeavors. 

“Whether they want to be artists in the future or not, I just hope that they use the time and recognize how valuable it is to have these free resources to express themselves and learn about themselves,” Miller said.

While Miller allows students creative freedom in their artwork, he also guides them through the process by giving demonstrations during a quarter of the class periods. 

“Mr. Miller does a lot of good demos so we understand how to make our sculptures correctly and gives us tips on how to make them look better,” senior Karly Hopper said. 

Depending on the piece, artists typically spend around two to four weeks working on their art. 

“A normal day consists of everyone working on their own individual projects,” junior Kayla Nguyen said. “Although the entire process of creating the greenware, firing it, glazing it, and firing it again takes a long time, the end product is always great and extremely rewarding.”

Whether they want to be artists in the future or not, I just hope that they use the time and recognize how valuable it is to have these free resources to express themselves and learn about themselves.”

— Donovan Miller

In addition to the satisfaction of completing a personal project, students often find themselves appreciative of the mentally-restorative benefits the time provides. 

“The class is therapeutic for many students because you are able to express your creativity in any way you want, and Mr. Miller gives us a lot of free will on how we want to exhibit the assignments,” freshman Acelyn Nguyen said.

Due to the amount of control they have over their projects, many students are able to connect their pieces to their own lives. 

“My favorite project was the mask project, since it gave us a lot of free reign and creativity in terms of what message we wanted to express,” junior Laci Kim said.

The ceramics classes have spent the first semester learning how to craft a variety of objects including masks and boxes, and will continue to further their skills in the next half of the school year with Miller’s guidance. 

“We have built a lot of things such as masks, pots, spoon holders and currently we’re making vases,” Hopper said. “Soon we’re going to start using the wheel, which I’m excited about.”