‘Claybody’ lets ceramic art, artists breathe

The Student Union Gallery will host 'Claybody Ceramics Invitational' Jan. 26. The exhibit features student work from 2013. Photo by Tim Brown.
The Student Union Gallery will host ‘Claybody Ceramics Invitational’ Jan. 26. The exhibit features student work from 2013. Photo by Tim Brown.

It starts with a block of clay. Pieces are lopped off, rolled between hands and fashioned into objects and bodies. The edges are delicately pressed and raised. These projects are ideas and viewpoints molded into being by the talented students of the ceramics department.

After months of toil, selected student artists will present their work at the Claybody Ceramics Invitational in the Student Union Gallery this month.

“We’ve got students who … work on their projects until four in the morning,” said Alanna DeRocchi, term instructor of art in the ceramics department. “It’s not even last-minute. They’re just obsessed with it.”

DeRocchi and Steven Godfrey, head of the ceramics department, chose what pieces to feature in the show.

“It was really hard to choose a select few pieces,” DeRocchi said. “All of our students are making pretty incredible work.”

The Claybody student ceramics club puts on the exhibition. Club officer Bailey Arend, who has helped organize the event since fall 2012, said, “If you have a 3-foot tall sculpture, you don’t want to put that next to a bunch of small cups. We arrange it so that you have time to think about each (sculpture).”

To let the work breathe, the Claybody Club tries to keep the show small.

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“We generally try to go for less work. Having a little space to move around in (the Student Union Gallery) lets you think about the stuff more,” Arend said.

Claybody has been working to expand the definition of pottery, especially in the public eye.

“A lot of people, when they think of pottery, they think of the same stuff you see at the store,” Arend said, “but the students here are so different than what you’d see anywhere else.”

The Claybody Ceramics Invitational opening reception is from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Student Union Gallery. A midday reception will take place from 1:30-3 p.m. on Jan. 27. The show will run until Feb. 12. It is open to UAA students and the community at large. Admission is free.