Student Ceramics Studio spins back into action for spring


Sofiia Zaruchenko

Student Ceramics Studio monitor Zo Zentner `25 reaches for bisque, or fired, unglazed ceramic pieces, in the studio.

Krista Spies, Staff Writer

After a semester of inactivity, the Student Ceramics Studio relaunched with an open house last Saturday, Feb. 18, resuming its role as a student-run space to learn, teach and create ceramic art. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., student monitors Emily Anderson `23.5, Lucy Suchomel `24, Zo Zentner `25 and Vivian Finch `26 familiarized new and returning visitors with the studio, hoping to get other students excited about using clay and understanding how the space functions.

Anderson is the only returning monitor who had previously worked at the Student Ceramics Studio, located in the middle of the South Campus loggia. She said that during the 2021-2022 school year, the studio was never open to its full capacity. “We didn’t have a ton of hours available, and we never fully got to deep clean or sort through things,” she said.

“This year has actually been really nice to be able to clean everything out and actually feel like we have a good space to work out of,” said Anderson.

Anderson described the student monitors’s roles as introducing people to the studio and its materials, helping if anyone has questions and, above all, making sure the space is being used safely.

Suchomel emphasized the Student Ceramics Studio’s unique position as an accessible, no-cost space for student creativity. “There is that kind of financial barrier behind clay, and to have access to all of this, it is really nice,” she said.

With two kilns, five throwing wheels, a lot of clay and various other ceramics supplies, Suchomel said that a membership to a studio and buying the necessary materials is often quite expensive, but that the Student Ceramics Studio provides everything free of charge for students interested in exploring the world of clay.

Zentner, hired at the end of the fall semester, commented on the studio’s student-run community. “I think that this is a great space for community and for everybody to be able to come together,” they said. “Robin [Strangfeld], the ceramics professor, has this whole thing that’s like, ‘ceramics is community.’”

Zentner said that the space is completely student-run, adding to Grinnell’s culture of student-centered self-governance.

The monitors also spoke on the physicality of the ceramics medium and why that appeals to them. “I really like the ability to physically manipulate a piece of art, and I find that that’s a really fun way for me to connect with what I’m making,” said Zentner.

Suchomel said that after witnessing the process of an item’s formation, “it’s cool to be able to use what you make.”

The team of student monitors said that they are not only excited to work on their own pieces but also to help people learn about the medium. However, that excitement extends past just the studio’s employees.

“I really miss having access to a wheel, but I think my mom’s more excited than I am. She’s like, ‘I want this, I want this for my friend,’” said Suchomel.

Whether it is to make a bowl for their mom, to de-stress or to try a new artistic hobby, the team of student monitors are looking forward to inviting people to the Student Ceramics Studio and getting its community back up and running.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include the Student Ceramics Studio’s open hours. Updated Mar. 6, 2023, 4:47 p.m.