The Student News Site of Saint Xavier High School

Sculpting Opportunities at Clay Club

March 8, 2023

Clay Club is the perfect opportunity for a new beginner to be introduced to working with clay or for an advanced ceramics student to perfect their craft and make cool, useful pieces. Every Wednesday after school, Clay Club is hosted by Mr. Payne and Ms. Jaffe until four p.m. 


Mr. Payne pulling the clay on the wheel to prepare for a new piece (Landon Akers)


Beginners tend to stick to the basics and make pinch pot bowls with their hands. Mr. Payne instructs the members how to form the bowl, smooth the insides and outsides, form a clean lip and build a footprint for the bowl to sit on. The club is open to freshmen and it’s a great way to get involved. 

“My favorite part about Clay Club is that it is all your choice; you choose what you want to do and if you need help Mr. Payne and the people around you are all willing,” freshman Braden Baker said. “I think that people should join because it is a great thing to get into. You don’t need any experience. The environment was welcoming and it was a very freeing experience.”

If the student likes the concept of working with clay, they can take the Ceramics 1 class that mainly consists of sophomores. This class is only a semester long, so it is not a big commitment.


Students hard at work during a Ceramics class (Landon Akers)


Ceramics 2 is a class where throwing clay on the wheel is introduced. Wheel thrown pieces are much neater and can be constructed a lot faster than hand built pieces. In this class, students first learn how to center clay on the wheel and use the technique of “pulling” the clay to shape what kind of piece they want.


A student’s portfolio of their mugs on the class shelf (Landon Akers)


Lastly, the most knowledgeable Clay Club students are in the Ceramics 3 classes. These students have been working in clay for three semesters and know the ins and outs of the class. These students are able to work on their advanced pieces in the with the extra time provided through the club. It is a perfect time for them to be able to throw larger pieces and try new techniques that they don’t have the opportunity to in class.


Quality pieces made in Ceramics 3: casserole dish, queso bowl, and a textured plate (Landon Akers)


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