West Ranch Ceramics brings their imagination to life through creative expression


Stephen Kim and Alyssa Chang

   Ceramics is a class offered here at West Ranch for students interested in learning handbuilding techniques, the history of ceramics, and creative expression. By learning about sculptures and how to create them, using both conventional and unconventional mediums, students are able to study the fundamentals of design using materials like clay and cardboard. 


   “It has been very interesting and difficult at times to teach Ceramics within a hybrid model at the beginning of the semester. Using unconventional materials, we created sculptures that focused on balance, repetition, space, form, and texture,” Mrs. Philburn, the Ceramics teacher here at West Ranch, explained. “Once everyone was able to pick up their clay and tools, we were able to create our sculptures using clay. During class, I demonstrate the techniques that the students use and I use the breakout rooms daily to have students show me their work and field individual questions and offer assistance.” 


   In addition to lack of supplies and difficulty in distribution, other hurdles students have had to overcome are adequate work space and finding household tools to take the place of ceramics tools. In order to continue the students’ learning, Mrs. Philburn says that she “has relied a lot on [her] recorded demos that [she] has posted so the students can watch techniques on repeat.”


   During the current situation, students have mostly shifted to spending time examining historical, contemporary, and 3-dimensional ceramic works everyday to keep them inspired and full of new ideas, in addition to continuously creating sculptures. 


   Mrs. Philburn continued, “Whatever the work, I really just want my students to slow down and take time to admire artwork wherever they may be at any given moment. They can learn a lot from just observing! Working with clay and other sculptural materials is an expressive way to learn spatially and I try to provide a creative space for my students to work in, but I’d like my students to constantly think of form, space, and design when viewing the world.”


   Hanna Ayoub, a West Ranch junior taking the class, explained, “Because of online learning, it can be hard for us to understand how to create small and detailed pieces that we attach to our main clay pieces.”


   However, even with the new difficulties, many Wildcats claim to have enjoyed their time in the class during the year. Ayoub describes her experience in the course as “unique, rewarding, and complex.” 


   Kayleen Raoufi, another junior student taking the class, remarked, “There were many things I liked about the class, but if I had to choose one, it would be the fact that we got to choose what we wanted to make for our projects. This really lets us express our creativity.” 


   Both Ayoub and Raoufi highly recommend Wildcats to take the class if they have any interest in artistry and creativity. Cats, if this applies to you, make sure to check out the class and the creativity it offers in detail!