Washington Throws the Distance in Ceramics

Madeline Sanstrum, Staff Writer

If you come into room 190 in the early morning hours or after school, you might just hear some tunes and see sophomore Isaiah Washington on the potter’s wheel throwing a vase, bowl, cup, lid, or just playing with the clay.

“He kind of has the ‘clay-bug’,” said Michael Grubar, the art teacher for Centennial as well as a professional ceramicist. “He watches video’s, asks questions from the videos… he’s definitely gone several steps above just doing a project.”

“Some people make fun of me like ‘why do you stay after school and stuff?’” said Washington. “But I stay after school because it’s relaxing.”

Potery2One of Washington’s past projects from last semester was a 15 pound dinosaur for one of the class projects, using different glazes to make it more realistic. The future project he can’t wait to work on is a tea pot, the last project for the Ceramics 2 class. “I’ve never ever done it and I don’t know where to start,” he said with a smile.

Washington’s future plans for the school year are going to CAL for his junior and senior year and being able to study in the field of dentistry there and in college. “If you work hard enough [there], you can leave being a certified dental assistant.” He still intends on doing ceramics as a hobby up until retirement when he can do it as a full time job.    “Art’s kind of like that one [thing] where you can express yourself,” said Washington. “There’s no right or wrong thing to do when you’re doing art. You could make the weirdest thing in ceramics [that suits] you… I like how it’s a way to express yourself.”

However, with all the enjoyment you can get out of art, it’s never all that easy. With ceramics, the big problems can be the small stuff like glaze sticking to the shelf in kiln, someone else’s work explode and decimate other classmates projects, or just the occasional screw up then and again.

“[The] struggles [are] probably going to make some of my bigger work. You’re almost there, it’s just the small little detail you’ve got to add, and you end up messing up the whole entire thing,” said Washington. “There’s more good than bad [though]; I really like making some of my stuff, the compliments, and the stuff I get back in return.”

Washington encourages people to take ceramics just for the fun of it. “It’s going to be hard and you may not get the grades that you want, but it’s just about practice, practice, practice. It only took me a semester to get where I’m at, and I’m only a sophomore.”

“My hopes now are that he starts using surface decoration,” said Grubar, “but I understand that he’s focusing more on the forms. For a student in his first year of ceramics, he has definitely gone well beyond just the doing.”