Class Catalog: Art 102 Ceramics I

Sarah Beck, Staff writer

Whether you are an art student, someone looking to fill an art class credit for REACH, or just an individual who loves to be creative, you are going to want to reach this article! Ceramics I is a class that delves into the art and practice that is ceramics, you will have the opportunity to primarily focus on hand-building with clay. Ceramics I is a prerequisite that prepares you for the second ceramics course, Ceramics II where students have the opportunity to learn how to use the pottery wheel. Ceramics I is offered to all students regardless of major due to its introductory level and universal diversity in a liberal arts education. Everyone is encouraged to challenge themselves, their creativity, and their patience, by taking this class. Ceramics I is taught by professor Jessica Stadtmueller, Cummings Art Gallery Director and Artist in Residence. Stadtmueller began teaching at Mercyhurst in the Fall of 2020. She had a very enriching learning experience and career before she came to Mercyhurst to teach. Stadtmueller had the opportunity to intern for Leo Grilli Ceramics Studio in Gubbio, Italy where she threw pots for six hours a day, five days a week, all while learning from Grilli himself. Due to her previous experience, students have a true opportunity to learn the art, precision, and creative nature of ceramics from Stadtmueller. Students who take this course through to its completion will gain insight into all areas of ceramics including ceramics history, studio procedures, proper build methods, the impact of ceramics upon humanity, as well as an overall appreciation for the art and process. While learning about the history of ceramics, students have the chance to compare varying techniques throughout the years which proves to be helpful when building their own pieces. One of Stadtmueller’s favorite projects that students complete during this course is their second project, coil building. This project is a popular one because the pieces are much larger than the students’ first ones. Stadtmueller included that one of her favorite parts of teaching this course is, “…encouraging students to push themselves creatively and develop confidence with their ideas.”Simultaneously, she loves to learn from all of the students she teaches. “Their questions make me a better teacher, ceramicist, and artist,” said Stadtmueller. It is a true learning experience for all! Ceramics I is truly unique due to the skills that a student will accumulate throughout the course. These skills not only relate to the art form itself but also to practical and personal skills. “Clay has a mind of its own, with its own limits and schedule. You can’t force clay to cooperate if it isn’t ready, it needs to be done in stages,” said Stadtmueller. As a student in this course, one will certainly learn the skills of self-discipline, mental toughness, and time management. Stadtmueller always tells her students, “Ceramics isn’t for wimps. It teaches resilience, it makes you stronger.”Any student who has the opportunity to take Ceramics I should seize the opportunity. Stadtmueller said, “This class is one of the few experiences on campus that will demand your brain to process information in a three-dimensional manner, to focus on tactile sensation, and creatively problem solve.” All people have a lot to learn from art and Ceramics I is the perfect starting point. Make sure to add this class to one of your upcoming semesters!