Freshman Lily Matthews '23 discovered a new passion in the ceramics studio at Princeton Day School. Before PDS, she did not have much exposure to ceramics: “I had the occasional art class where we rarely used clay, and a few random summer classes, but overall it was a new concept to me.” Matthews particularly loves how ceramics at PDS is a hands on experience. “I enjoy shaping the clay and making my own creations instead of only learning from textbooks. Being able to use the pottery wheel and different techniques like handbuilding is also really enjoyable.”
Matthews credits Ceramics teacher Eric Rempe for helping her expand her horizons and experiment with different techniques, such as hand-building works from a slab of clay. Rempe is particularly pleased with Matthews’ dedication and passion for the work.
“This is her first year at PDS and she has found a home in the ceramics studio. She had never slab built before and was able to make some incredibly expressive work,” he shared.
For Matthews, the slab building project offered unexpected challenges and rewards. At the outset, Matthews did not expect her project to be particularly difficult because it was created from a single piece and would not require any attachments. However, she soon realized this was not the case. Her design, which centered around folding a flat slab of clay up to make a flower-like shape, had its own challenges. Matthews reflects, “it was really hard because it wouldn't stay up easily and would crack.” Through trial and error, she soon realized that the thickness of her slab was the main problem. “I rolled out a thinner slab and used balls of clay to hold up the places where I folded and things started to work out. Overall I really enjoyed the slab building project and I hope to do something like it again.”