Ceramics Students Hold Holiday Sale

Yesenia Pereyra

The ceramics department had a student sale Saturday at GCC, where 40 students exhibited their work, costumers were looking for gifts for the holidays and where shopping was done for the pleasure of art.

The sale took place in the chilly room of SC 212 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m, which filled up with shoppers from the neighborhood, staff from campus, friends and people helping in the sale. Students from ceramic classes brought together their work ranging from traditional plates, to water pots, oval shape necklaces and hangings for sale.

The pottery sale is held twice a year, each semester. In the sale, students have the opportunity to learn how to market their work and make business, said Mark Poore, head of the ceramics department.

In the sale, 80 percent of the profit goes to the artists and 20 percent goes to the department. “The 20 percent profit goes to scholarships, guest speakers, equipment and awards,” said Poore. “Eventually it all goes back to the students.” Last spring semester, the sale had a profit of about $5,000. The semester before that, it was about $10,000, due to the holiday season. The department expected to take in roughly $10,000 this year.

Students sold pieces that they made in class throughout the semester or pieces from previous semesters, said Poore. All ceramic students are eligible to participate, but most have three to four semesters experience.

“In the first semester or second, you don’t feel too secure about your work,” said Jose Salinas, ceramics student and a student employee in the ceramics lab. “You don’t believe it is good. You are just beginning to learn how to create. It comes to the third semester where you begin to feel more secure and feel that your stuff is worth selling.”

“I have a lot of students that work outside of class,” Poore said. “They put in many hours of practice to find their tone.” He has had students that have studios, started their own tile company and display their work internationally.

Ellisa Weekely has been in ceramic classes for three years now. She sells in La Canada and in the Burbank Creative Arts Center, and this is her third year participating in the sale. As a mother with all her children off to college and with nothing to hold her back, she decided to try ceramics because her mother always insisted that she should try it.

Now, “ceramics has changed my life,” she said. “It opened up a world of appreciation of art and how things are created. All I want out of it is to pay for my habit.”
Lilia Venier takes it a step further.

Although it started as a hobby, she now is leaning toward a career as a ceramicist. She exhibits her work in the Studio Arts Gallery in Laguna Beach and the Chemers Gallery in Tustin.

“When you come here [to ceramics] they tell you you won’t make money,” Venier said. “That is why you have to find, in any place, what you can do differently. That is the key. With this, I pay for bills and help my husband with payments, which he is happy about.”