Funding hole plugged with clay

Potter Sale provides gifts, funding for department


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Student-made ceramics sit waiting to be purchased during the annual Pottery Sale in the Art Building on Thursday. All funds collected from the art sale go toward funding the Fine and Media Arts Department.

Vases and other ceramic items were displayed at the Pottery Sale at Contra Costa College in a fundraiser in the Art Building from May 4 through last Friday.

To raise funds for equipment and clay for the fine and media arts department, an assortment of art sculptures were displayed for the campus to see.

Ceramics instructor Mary Law explained the need for the fundraiser and said the money goes right back to the department and faculty members will be able to afford the shelves in the Art Building and other supplies students need.

Law said the prices of the items ranged from one dollar to $30.

The types of pottery that were found at the fundraiser included bowls, mugs and plates, along with other functional items used daily.

The specific ceramic items made by CCC students and professors in their ceramic classes were chosen by the maker and contributed to help provide funds for all students next semester.

Law, a full-time artist herself, said there is something special about seeing a tangible piece of art come about from 18 hours of working on something.

She said this can lead to development in all sorts of other art courses, and even in some cases, attending college for some students.

Law said the items contributed at the event were mainly earlier pieces students created and donated. Customers who decided to visit the fundraiser saw inexpensive, handmade objects that could be used for gifts.

Many students from both Middle College High School and CCC, came for Mother’s Day gifts.

Alan Perloff, art major and a serious ceramicist, was amazed at how great the pottery looked on sale.

“You can find amazing and beautiful gifts at an extremely affordable rate here. The success of the pottery event depends on what a person is seeking. But either way, there is a wide array of decorative and functional bowls here.”

Law said one of her happiest moments as a teacher, after 25 years of teaching, is seeing “a student who is struggling in college — come into art class and do really well and have that be the breakthrough for other headway in college and life.”

Larry Jones, art and music major said, “Art throwing is a balance of forces, getting it to turn, but not exceeding the clay’s ability to not twist. I always have a few pots in mind.”

In theory, a student begins with a heavy amount of clay in his or her hand, weighing about six pounds and allowing the individual to make a few different things.

“Clay is a very yielding medium,” Jones said.

He said, “As soon as you throw clay on the wheel and use your body mechanics to pull up on the wet earth with one hand and pushing in with the other hand, then all you have to do is make a solid cylinder before you intentionally make a central hole by pushing thumbs in, all the while adding slip and water to allow lubrication. Before you know it, you have a bowl or a cup. Then, the real work of refining the bottom begins.”

The time it takes to uncover a real talent for ceramics ranges from the rare student who can sit down and learn the craft in one semester, to other students who take sculpture or ceramic courses.

The more interested students associated with art rent studio space or take their creation to public events so that they can have 24 hours to transform clay.

Ekram Ayyad, an art student who contributed some of her pottery to the fundraiser said, “This is my third semester here. I like making bowls and plates because they can be used to hold salads and other foods.”

Anne Van Blaricom, an art major and event volunteer said, “(The department) coordinates our annual pottery event by volunteers and sell everything very inexpensively to offset the costs of ‘glazes’ which can be too expensive for the average CCC student.”