By Siran Liang, Staff Writer 

Students Making Pottery

Phoebe Fast (center) and other students at Craft Night (Photo by Siran Liang)

   Farmington—Rolling, cutting, kneading, shaping…In the skillful hands of UMF students, a bunch of clay slabs were transformed into a great variety of mugs, bowls, plates and different sorts of artistic trinkets. It was at the craft night recently organized by Clay Work Club, a new art club at UMF. This semester, the club is looking forward to expanding and getting students closer to pottery art.

“At UMF there is no clay at all, even for sculpture, no wheels or fire…any kind of clay work or pottery,” said Phoebe Fast, president of Clay Work Club, and a UMF sophomore majoring in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Arts.

To bring a more specific art form to UMF campus is one of the reasons why Fast established the club.

Just having its Constitution passed three months ago, the new club is facing a lot of challenges—doing a budget for the new semester, fundraising, recruiting members, organizing events, gradually setting up their own studio, etc. The pottery night was the first big event they hosted.

For the craft night, the club had prepared two hundred pounds of clay and only one hundred pounds were used. Fast said that the biggest difficulty was ordering supplies. “It was difficult because I had never ordered before and I had to know what specific materials to get and how much to get,” said Fast.

      The club’s hard work in the past few weeks paid off. There were about 30 students who went to the event, according to Christopher Wren, the vice president of the club. “The event went a lot better than expected, I was very happy with the outcome,” said Wren.

Fast was also satisfied despite the fact that the event didn’t go as planned. She said that it “helped get the word out about Clay Work Club” and prepared her better for craft nights in the future.

Thelonious Lichter, a junior who made a little rabbit named Naughty, a character from his favorite video game, said that it would be better if there were more members of the club to help.

“It is truly cool though,” said Lichter, “It is something that if we don’t have a club for it, it would be really really hard to put on. And this is really fun just to do…relaxing.”

“The biggest problem was keeping up with all the people,” said Wren. They were kind of short handed but he and Fast were trying their best to move around and help everyone out.

This craft night is only the first of a whole pottery series events on campus this semester. All the works made by students that night will be taken by the club to be fired and following up there is a glazing night on Mar. 10th.

“There was a craft night that used air dry clay (in UMF history), but nothing that could be fired and glazed like these pieces will,” said Wren.

Like Fast, Wren started to learn pottery in the first year of high school and they have been interested in doing it ever since. “I find pottery to be soothing and I enjoy the problem solving involved in it. I also enjoy experimenting and creating glazes!” said Fast.

The short-term goal for Clay Work Club, according to Fast, is “definitely to get it running”. After that the goal is to set up a studio, which Fast hopes would be in the Merrill basement and equipped with at least two wheels and a kiln.

Fast said that with more tools and facilities, students will be able to try wheel thrown pottery and deal with different ways of firing.

For the long run, she wished to make pottery a class at UMF. “If you don’t want to paint or draw and still want to do arts, you want to create something with your hands, pottery will be prefect for it,” said Fast.

“A pottery class at UMF would be awesome!” said Lichter, “It is really cool to just create things like 3D tangible objects as a result. I really think it is neat.”

To promote the art of pottery and inspire creativity on UMF campus, Clay Work Club is already on its way. Students who are interested in joining the club can contact the president Phoebe Fast for more fun events and information by emailing phoebe.fast@maine.edu.