Bakersfield College ceramics students display their clay sculptures daily at Kern County Fair
Bakersfield College ceramics students demonstrated their clay-making art daily in the Fine Arts building at the Kern County Fair. They volunteered their time, bringing attention not only to their clay sculpturing, but to the BC Art Department as well.
Kathy Chernabaeff, chairman of the fair’s ceramic and china paint department, contacted BC’s ceramics professor Emily Maddigan about having some students do demonstrations of clay making at the fair.
“The youth can see young people doing this,” said Chernabaeff. “And young people are watching.
“That’s what we need to do to save the arts. It’s becoming a lost field, and if we don’t have enough people involved we’re going to lose the whole art.”
Maddigan felt it would be something interesting and important for her students to participate in.
She put together some clay, a throwing wheel, some clay tools, and a few dedicated ceramic student volunteers, and did daily demonstrations of various methods of clay construction including hand building, coiling, sculpting and wheel throwing.
“One thing that struck me this year that is very important is that we don’t make many things for ourselves as a culture,” said Maddigan. “We don’t know how to make cups for ourselves or bowls. So I think it’s exciting at the fair. Everyone’s excited to watch someone throwing on the wheel.
“I like that we’re out at the fair because it’s not only entertaining but it’s a way to draw attention to ceramics,” she said.
“So I think that it’s important that part of us be in the community. We also have a big poster of our ceramics and Art Department there so everyone that’s watching the demo knows that these are students.”
Fine arts major Daniel Nunez demonstrated some wheel-throwing techniques.
He’s from Delano, and this is his third year at BC. He was inside a gated, white-picket fence in the front corner of the room, and there was a large window people can look through.
“I feel like an animal at the zoo,” said Nunez. “I mean by the display where I’m gated off and I can’t go anywhere, but I enjoy it, and it’s important letting people know about ceramics. People do seem receptive to it.
“Ceramics is very important to our culture,” he said. “It’s in the plates that we eat off, or the technology that we use with ceramics now.”
He’s heard about ceramics being used in spacecrafts because of its ability to withstand heat that would melt even the thickest metal.
The BC Art Department will be having a faculty art show and fund raiser for the Friends of the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery coming up in November. Maddigan’s work, as well as unclaimed ceramic student work, will also be on display.