Students express themselves through ceramics


Robert Beaver

Ron Feese, undeclared major, trims clay for a project to make a cylinder. Feese, a third semester ceramics student, said he is trimming the excess clay to make his completed project lighter in weight.

Robert Beaver and Robert Beaver

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Arts Button

Monica Bravoderveda, undecided major, is among 90 students at Cerritos College who are studying the artistry behing ceramics.

“As you start feeling the clay at your finger tips, it sort of just starts talking to you and it says this is what I kind of want to be,” she said.

“Of course, you have control of it because it’s your thought, your vision, but a lot of the times you’re surprised by the outcome because the way clay is so flexible and moldable.”

Bravoderveda, a native of Peru, likes to shape sculptures incorporating her feelings and ideas inspired from ancient Peruvian art, or from objects in the world around her.

“Once you really connect with the clay it never lets you down,” Bravoderveda said.

“Through life, we all go through our ups and downs,” Bravoderveda explained, “and this medium has definitely become an outlet for me to express my feelings.”

Ed Zimmerman, undecided major, is a 15-year practitioner of ceramics.

He has made numerous objects that are functional and others that are purely in appreciation of the art.

However, Zimmerman finds himself going back to making decorated plates.

“The decoration process is where I spend the most of the creativity. I just start out with a loose idea, I tend to make marks then I play off those marks, until I build the surface the way I want it.”

Zimmerman was born into a family of artists. His parents were painters and his sister currently teaches art in Missouri.

With an inherited interest in art, Zimmerman exhausted all available water coloring and drawing classes.

He then stumbled into ceramics because it was the only thing left. Zimmerman would come to find out that he would end up staying with ceramics.

Steven Portigal, ceramics professor, said, “If students really want to do this, I certainly would encourage them, but they need to be aware that this may not offer the greatest financial security.”

He also added that students have the opportunity to pursue higher education of the craft to become an instructor at any level.

Cerritos College offers the Ceramics Program, which examines the history and art of ceramics for art majors, enthusiasts and students who can fulfill the general education requirement for a degree.

Students will create various shapes, cups, bowls and vases, to include a final project that challenges students to create a type of pottery that tells a story about modern culture.

“The results are quite fascinating and impressive,” Portigal said.