Region 8 students selling work to enhance the program they love

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Students enrolled in the pottery classes at Arkansas State University are selling their work to enhance the program they love.

ASU Alumni and the Student Pottery Guild are joining forces and displaying their work for sale at the Edge Coffee House in Jonesboro.

Fine Arts Advanced Student, Shalom Dunn, is in the Pottery Program at ASU and says with the cost of clay going up, they're beginning to struggle in their classes. "Without sales like this we're unable to buy enough materials for the class to continue. As a matter of fact, last semester we came very close to running out of materials. All profits go to the Pottery Guild, which in turn, buys extra materials for the pottery classes."

Shalom says without the help of the public, things may begin to change for the worse. "This sale is extremely crucial to the program. We came so close to running out of material last semester and because of that we're looking at actually limiting the amount of material to students next semester. What people don't realize is that with beginning students, they know absolutely nothing as far as pottery goes. And these students will go through fifty or sixty pounds of clay just learning how to get it centered on a wheel. Without the money we need to buy the materials, it drastically hurts that program."

There are a large variety of pottery pieces for sale. "The majority of what we have is the stoneware pottery, but we also have pieces that have been done in a Japanese style of firing. These pieces are very collectible. Some of this pottery people will have thirty or forty years.  And each piece is individual.  No two are alike."

Shalom says pottery has influenced the world, both a functioning item and a piece of art. "Students get an appreciation for the art of pottery in these classes. One of the marks of civilization throughout time is when they developed pottery. Pottery has been in the forefront throughout time. Without pottery you wouldn't have civilizations that could store grain and food that could really transition people as a whole for being hunters and gatherers, to being able to become agriculturally balanced and able to raise their own food."

Harrisburg resident Mike Denton agrees with Shalom. He decided to start taking the pottery classes at ASU because it's something he's always wanted to learn to do, and says the arts are more than important, they're necessary. "This pottery was actually made by a fella. And he made it with his hands and that doesn't ever need to be sacrificed. That needs to be cherished and relished. Things we make whether it be bowls, plates, quilts or anything else; support the arts. Make sure these things stay with us as a society because this is what makes us civilized."

Shalom says classes like the ones in the pottery program at ASU keep this form of art alive and sustained in our society. "Pottery is almost a dying art form and without classes like this, it's a form that will eventually go by the wayside. Potters are becoming fewer and farther between because everyone wants to go for the cheap and easy. In this day and age, a lot of people go out to the store and go buy a coffee cup. It's become disposable. There's really no artistry in that. But with what we do here, because they are handmade, each piece reflects the person that's made it. Each one of these pieces has it's own voice and because of that each piece will eventually find a person that it belongs to."

Shalom says they put on three sales a year, one in the spring, summer, and also a holiday sale held in the fall.

The pottery sale at Edge Coffee House on Aggie Road will take place Friday from 10a-5p and Saturday from 10a-3p.

For more information about the Pottery Program at Arkansas State University, you can log onto their website.

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