Ceramics and Sculpture Art Director Keiko Fukazawa paves the way for students to be inspired and immersed in the art of molding clay into their own forms of expression, whether it’s as simple as teapots and plates or as abstract and meaningful as symbolic sculptures.
A curious array of ceramic art sculptures, pottery, cups and jugs were displayed for sale in the quad on Tuesday Dec. 6, all handmade by students who’ve worked on their art throughout their semester.
Fukazawa promotes her students’ work every semester for the sake of the experience in learning the stepping stones of a sculptor. She emphasizes training students to learn the value and cost of their passionate work so that they can share it whether it is valuable in profit or not.
“I like encouraging the students because they are producing the work, but if somebody purchases their work, it can give them a sense of validation and encouragement so they get excited and get better, eventually thinking about taking it to the next level,” Fukazawa said.
At PCC, students take advantage of the essential resources in ceramics offered when it comes to learning the fundamentals. Owning components of what you need as a sculptor costs way more than meets the eye.
“Students learn that you need a studio, electricity, skills to use a kiln, and learn to use glaze.
But here, after paying a small fee for the semester, students are able to use the facilities in order to work on their own projects,” Fukazawa explained.
Shirin Akhavan, a ceramic and tile artist for 15 years, explains her idea of sharing artwork.
“I love ceramics, I’ve been working in ceramics for ten to fifteen years of my life, it’s fun if you know what you’re doing,” Akhavan said. “It’s good to see what people build and like, to see what also doesn’t sell. It’s a win-win situation because the money goes back to the lab and supports the studio.”
Jenny Zhao, a Computer Information Systems major, has surprisingly found an outlet from what was once only an elective.
“I make stuff so that I can use it as plating in the kitchen for when I cook, the process has it’s ups and downs because when I first tried making a bowl, it took me like a month just to get it right…” I ended up really liking it along with help from other students and teachers. Eventually, I got a chance to share my work.” Zhao said.
Alyson Mello, an Environmental Studies major, elaborated how she suddenly developed a passion in the technical side of why art is so intriguing to her. She admitted that it was her sister’s idea to take the class only as an elective, which eventually developed into one of her favorite hobbies.
“I’m very interested in the technical aspect of art, the ergonomics of finding out why it feels good to hold something in your hand. Each piece stills feels like it’s a part of me, so when I share it, it’s kinda like someone taking a part of my life whether it took me 30 minutes or 3 hours to make,” Mello said.
“Art is an outlet for me but I’m still a student trying to understand the fundamentals as well as I can. I don’t make stuff to sell it. I just sell stuff to fund making more stuff. I never sell anything that I really like, I give away a lot of it to my friends and family. It helps keep stuff from piling up in my backyard and it’s also nice to make a buck or two,” Mello added.
It’s not always about the artist’s profit. Fukazawa explains beauty in selling things in order to fund their department so that more students can continue to develop as artists.
“They can make a little bit of money too, sort of a win-win situation, especially when we use it to contribute it to the crafting foundation, a self-generating account. It helps fund our department in order to invite guest artists to teach a type of workshop,” Fukazawa said.
Fukazawa articulates on how the mindset of every artist can be unique. Those who sell their art may or may not find value in what they create while others just want to share their passionate works of art to be enjoyed.
“Some students don’t know how to put the price on their art sometimes because they decide on a very high price,” Fukazawa said. “Some students are very reasonable and humble about their work so we talk about that, too. It’s about learning things beyond the classroom.”