Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 35
Playing aroundPotters take to the wheel to raise money to support the Hancock arts program
BY SHELLY CONE
Dust swirls around the ceramics room at Allan Hancock College as students busily shape, massage, fire, and paint clay in its various forms. Tall bottles, short vases, plates, bowls, and dishes lie scattered on countertops and shelves in various states of completion. Many of the pieces, when they’re complete, will be contributed to the annual pottery fundraiser to raise funds for the department.
With funds tighter than ever before, the department struggles to keep up with materials, maintaining the kilns in good repair and offering lessons with guest artists.
“The fundraiser goes a long way in supporting the arts program. As you know, they are cutting all the time, and they always want to cut the arts,” Romero said. “Where they should cut is government.”
The popular sale features hundreds of pieces of pottery at reasonable prices, Romero said.
Fellow potter Susan Bass said the items are of higher quality and likely more affordable than the housewares shoppers find at large department stores.
“People go to Ross and buy the same thing; the only difference is those are low-fired,” she said. “These dishes are high quality, and you get to eat off them and actually use them. And they are probably lower priced.”
In fact, one of the things that appealed to Bass about getting started in pottery was the ability to create pieces that make attractive gifts. She said she used to have a hard time shopping for similar gifts of high quality; now she simply makes them.
For Romero, pottery began as a way to keep his creativity flowing.
“One of the things I like, for myself, I see a lot of my pottery as a canvas before I paint it,” Romero said. “I use four, five, six different glazes, but I know it’s something that is going to turn out different each time. It’s going to be abstract, yet there is some consistency to it.”
Romero has been creating pottery for the last 15 years, since he’s retired. Sue Southern has been creating with clay for a few years longer than that.
“It’s kind of addictive,” she said. “After you start, it’s all you can think about—at least for me it is.”
Both potters said they enjoy the class because of the depth of learning. They said each class adds to what they’ve learned before, so it’s always different. Right now, the class is learning about Mexican pottery, but previously it was Chinese pottery and Italian pottery. There’s also the camaraderie.
“We feed off each other and learn from each other,” Southern said.
Even with such collaboration, Bass is quick to point out the medium allows for such individuality.
“Everything is so individual, even if you copy someone’s work, it’s somehow going to be different,” she said.
This year’s fundraiser will feature a large selection of items from current students, and because former students were invited to contribute their work as well, it also promises to offer one of the biggest selections. Romero warned shoppers to get there early, however, as the event attracts a crowd.
“It’s like anything else you shop for,” he said. “If you want the best selection, you better get there first,” he said.
Arts Editor Shelly Cone is already saving her place in line. She can be contacted at email@example.com.