Ceramic student association hosts drop-in make-a-thon
You can find ceramics students nestled in the far corner of the VA building’s basement at all hours of the day. It’s a patient art. Trial and error is to be expected.
Every year, the Concordia Ceramic Student Association (CCSA) hosts a 12-hour make-a-thon where students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in handbuilding and spinning. This year, I joined them for a half hour or so, and had the opportunity to create a weird flower-like bowl, before I decided to crush it and deposit it in the clay buckets to be reused. I don’t have much experience handbuilding but I do really enjoy the act of making, once I surpass the intense feelings of frustration I associate with the medium.
“Ceramics classes are very hard to get into at Concordia, especially as a non-ceramics student,” said Fiona Charbonneau, who took ceramics in CEGEP but hasn’t yet at Concordia. “I came down to talk to people and get to know the medium more by participating in the making, it’s for a good cause.”
The funds raised from the many cups and bowls made during the make-a-thon go towards the department’s participation in the annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference. This year, held from March 25-28 in Richmond, Virginia, students attending the conference will have the opportunity to view demos, share techniques with other ceramicists, attend artist talks, gallery tours and buy special equipment.
According to its website, “the Visual Arts Center of Richmond […] has helped adults and children explore their creativity and make art since 1963. Each year, the organization touches the lives of more than 33,000 people through its classes, exhibitions, community outreach programs, camps, workshops and special events.”
Rooted in tactility, clay is a very therapeutic medium that teaches balance, stability and how to centre oneself. Even the act of cutting into clay has the serene power to calm me down. As someone who teaches basic handbuilding to children with very limited experience, I’ve learned to not sweat the small stuff, finding freedom within the “rules” (and trying not to blow up all the pieces in the kiln because of a tiny air bubble). Within this, there are techniques that are, overall, pretty helpful in day-to-day life.
Photos by Cecilia Piga