Fired Up

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A myriad of pots of assorted colors, shapes, designs, glazes and sizes filled Purnell Gallery on Jan. 23 for the annual ceramics reception.  Ceramics teacher Kevin Brady said that he was “very happy with the turnout.” because many students and parents showed up to view the pieces on display and support the girls. The ceramics students said that they were pleased with their progress and proud of the variety of works they displayed.

This year’s reception featured over 100 pieces of art crafted by students in Upper School ceramics and sculpture courses, including Global Clay (for first year students) and Advanced Ceramics and Sculpture (for second through fourth year students).

Brady said the collection displayed “hand building, sculptural things, pottery forms, the wheel, you name it.” The materials the girls used included clay, glazes, porcelain, under glazes, commercial glazes and even glazes made by Brady himself.  Girls also used different methods of firing such as Raku. Brady considers the Raku pieces in the exhibit to be “very strong works”.

Preparing for the reception is “always very busy. It’s a very fun time but a very busy time,” Brady said. To prepare for the reception, the girls and Brady work together to choose their favorite pieces.

First year students create large coil-built jars, influenced by the Japanese Jomon tradition c. 2500 BC, and such activities introduce first year students to the art and history of clay.

Freshman Ciara displayed her large jar at the reception. “I was really proud of it and the way it came out,” she said. “I think it’s awesome that people get to see it.”

One of the aspects of the reception that the girls love most is the feedback they receive from people who don’t know them and critique the pieces solely for their quality.

Senior and fourth year ceramics student Emily said, “You can pick up some incredibly honest tips and also get a self-esteem boost.”

The variety of pieces displayed reflects it of the individuality encouraged in the class. Senior and third year student Jessie said that, as students advance, the ceramics courses become “more independently driven,” and Brady encourages each student to work on specific and different things.

The Advanced Ceramics students displayed pieces such as teapots, pitchers and sculptures. Jessie said that many girls named their pieces and chose a theme or common elements. Emily, for example, molded a signature hand design on many of her pieces.

Cierra, Jessie and Emily remark on the relaxation, enjoyment and encouragement they get from the classes.

Brady said he usually plays music, and jokes run in abundance. He said, “Clay is the way.”

– Emily

Photos by Emily