Southern Clay club begins second year

The spring semester marks the start of the second year for Southern Clay Club. A club dedicated to the teaching and sharing of all things clay. Nestled away in the halls of the Spiva Fine Arts Building, the ceramic studio is a tricky place to find. On the bottom floor, through the wood shop room and to the right the studio awaits.

Southern Clay meets on Wednesday’s at 2 p.m.

“Hang your coats on the rack outside,” said Melinda Hodgin, “you don’t know where all the clay can get.”

Hodgin is a senior studio art major and president of Southern Clay.

As students fi le in, they gear up; pulling on dusty clay-stained aprons and overalls. The studio is full of student art. Clay pieces line the walls: pieces waiting to be fi red in the kiln, pieces already fired and glazed pieces patiently cooling down.

This particular meeting was about demonstrating and practicing throwing on the potter’s wheel. Throwing is where a lump of clay is thrown onto the wheel and manipulated into some sort of vessel. It is a process that looks effortless, but in reality it is not. The thrower is hunched over a wheel and immersed in the clay. A pale of water sits in front where any unwanted clay goes and where the water is used to shape and lubricate the clay while throwing.

“Push down while holding it up. Now push it back down and bring it up, and then shape it into a hockey puck,” said Hodgin.

After the base or the hockey puck is formed, then the shaping can begin. Hodgin makes it look easy as she builds a cylinder vase in just a couple of minutes. Different claying techniques such as sculpting, pinch potting and coiling are also taught in Southern Clay.

“Clay club is open to everyone,” said Hodgin. “For me the best part is being able to introduce to other people, outside of the art major, to this club.”

Members of Southern Clay include a variety of different students and majors. Stephanie Sherman, junior bio chemistry major got involved with clay club when one of her friends dragged her to a meeting. She has been hooked ever since.

“I like that it allows free range of your creativity. It’s my outlet for it,” said Sherman.

One thing that is different this semester with clay club is the idea of a website being made. This website will showcase students’ art pieces; will also be a way for them to sell their work, and an easy reference for students to come to clay club.

Whitney Koch, senior marketing management major, and communication liaison to Southern Clay explains that the website will be a way of teaching the students the business side of art. The website is expected to launch sometime this semester. Southern Clay has an open door policy and welcomes all new enthusiasts.

They have only one rule: the first time the clay is on them, the next time one must bring their own clay.