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Ceramics and community: hidden gem at the Craft Center

February 1, 2019

Mindy Leder
WONDERS ON WHEELS: The pottery studio, with its small group of dedicated ceramicists, is a highlight of Bowdoin’s Craft Center. Student instructors offer a range of introductory classes and open hours, hoping to spread the joy of pottery. Andrew Mulholland ’21 throws a bowl.

Bright colors, wheels and an endless amount of materials can feed anyone’s artistic hunger in a small, white building tucked away behind the Office of Admissions. Bowdoin’s Craft Center offers a range of creative activities beloved by students, from knitting to sewing to jewelry-making.

But for a certain group of students, the pottery studio is the Center’s main attraction. With its eight wheels and mountains of clay, the studio offers a rare creative outlet not found elsewhere on campus.

The studio offers open hours, during which students can experiment freely with instructors on hand, as well as structured classes that cover essential techniques, such as centering and pulling pots.

Meera Prasad ’19, who works at the Center as a pottery instructor, developed a passion for ceramics in high school. She became involved at the Craft Center last semester when she saw an opportunity to contribute to the small community of potters.

“When I started at the Craft Center, they did not have enough pottery instructors, and they were all men, so that was an incentive for me to start,” said Prasad.

For Prasad and others, the Craft Center gives a space to practice pottery without the cost of having a private studio. Membership at the Center is just $10 per semester for students, who can then use all of its materials and services, 24/7.

Noah Gans ’22 became a member in his first semester, because he wanted to continue working with pottery after being first introduced to the medium in high school.

“Ceramics is super rewarding and incredibly unforgiving,” Gans said. “It is really neat to take a clump of clay and turn it into a gorgeous piece.”

He added that the form is particularly special, because he has the chance to create “useable art.”

“If you make a mug, you get to show off your pottery,” he said.

Andrew Mulholland ’21 works at the craft center as a studio manager for pottery, teaching, scheduling and making sure the studio is organized. He loves ceramics and wants to expand the artistic horizons of fellow students.

“A lot of people call [ceramics] a craft,” Mulholland said. “It is colloquially called a craft and not a fine art, which I disagree with. I think it can be as majestic and beautiful as fine art.”

The Craft Center remains a great place to create.

“I always think of the Craft Center as a hidden gem of Bowdoin … there’s so much in there, and I really want more people [to have access]. As a manager, I think it’s my job not only to upkeep it, but also to advertise to everyone about this great resource they have available to them,” Mulholland wrote in a text message to the Orient.

This semester, the Center is offering two-hour pottery classes, at  3 p.m. on Sunday with Gans, 7 p.m. on Tuesdays with Prasad and 8 p.m. on Thursdays with Mulholland.


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