This story was originally written for Alaska Public Media.
UAA ceramic students are getting ready to sell their pieces for the ceramic club’s annual winter pottery sale. In recent years, they have had a line out the door before the sale even begins. Funds from the sale go towards the club’s travels, which send students to the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts and on other artistic endeavors.
Jade Ariah is the president of the ceramics club. She helps put on the sale with the 20-plus students that are in the club. Students sell mugs, vases, bowls, platters, lidded jars, ceramic baskets and just about anything you could think of that could be made on a wheel.
Ariah used to do more wheel throwing, but now she creates smaller sculptures, like jewelry and pins, with her hands.
“I was making these little ceramic pendants that had these little retro style women on them, and old sayings from advertisements and stuff like that. I think even the last one, I had made these little corn dog pins, just goofy, retro stuff,” Ariah said.
40 percent of the money from the sale goes to the club, and the other 60 percent goes back to the students. Ariah says hundreds of pieces will be up for sale.
“It’s like the whole semester of work by everyone in wheel throwing,” Ariah said.
Ariah says there are “seasoned regulars” who line up 45 minutes to an hour early to be the first people through the door.
“We have this guy who comes every year, and he always comes with an actual tote, just ready to start packing it in. It’s kind of, yeah, free-for-all,” Ariah said.
Funds raised go towards visiting artists and conferences. Currently, the club is raising funds for an upcoming New York City museum tour.
Steven Godfrey, department chair and ceramics professor, has been at UAA for 18 years. He says the trips help students make a decision on what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
“It’s very eye-opening for them and it really can change a students’ life and can change a students’ perspective, and it’s really exciting to see that. Oftentimes, students will come back from these conferences and they’re so energized and transformed as artists,” Godfrey said.
If you can’t make it to the upcoming sale, the club will have another sooner than you think. They also host a sale at the end of the spring semester, typically the Friday before finals.
The sale will be held on Dec. 8 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Gordon Hartlieb Hall on campus.