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Exploring Art Electives: A Look at Ceramics Class

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This semester I’ve had the opportunity to take a ceramics class here at Grove City College. I had some room for electives and thought I would try out Beginning Wheel Throwing, a three-credit art elective offered every year. My older brother had taken it when he was a student here and recommended that I take the class. I’ve always had a love for art and enjoyed taking art classes in high school, so I figured I would give it a go.

Initially, I was surprised at how difficult wheel throwing can be! The first few classes were a little rough, and I am definitely still working on my technique.  But, I’ve found that if you work hard and get a little help from more experienced individuals, it gets easier and can be a whole lot of fun. The art of wheel throwing is fascinating and unlike any other art I’ve ever attempted.

The process definitely takes some time, so patience and care are very important. From wedging, coning and centering the clay on the wheel, to opening it up, bringing the walls up and determining the shape of the piece, there are many details that need to be completed thoughtfully. Once the piece is finished on the wheel, there are several more steps that still need to be considered. The piece needs to dry so it can be trimmed and details added. It then needs to be fired, glazed and re-fired to produce a successful piece of pottery.

I didn’t realize all the time and effort that goes into one piece of pottery, but there’s beauty in the process. It’s so neat making mugs I can actually drink out of and vases that I can put on display with some flowers. The class costs $90, but that means you can use as much clay as you want throughout the semester and produce as many pieces as you’d like.

Although wheel throwing is tricky, it’s extremely fascinating at the same time. There’s so much creativity to be had, and the atmosphere is peaceful, giving you the freedom to make whatever you want. I would definitely encourage anyone interested in art and making things with your hands to give wheel throwing a chance – the end products make the process worth it! It’s a great way to be creative and have fun, especially amidst traditional classes filled with readings and papers.

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