Artists persevere

The struggles of art class during remote learning

by Rowan Casselman, Reporter

Around 13 months ago, the ceramics classroom was filled with students. Talking with their friends about the Oscars or a strange new virus that had been in the news for several months, while creating masterpieces out of clay. 

Just weeks later, as Shorewood closed its doors and students opened Zoom, ceramics classes looked very different. The two main components were taken away, leaving students without tablemates and clay. “We weren’t permitted to distribute art supplies…That was a lousy situation,” remarked Michael Zadra, Shorewood’s ceramics teacher. 

Luckily, after a couple of months to problem solve remote learning, the 2020-2021 school year came bearing clay. 

by Rowan Casselman

“Thankfully, getting materials is quite easy. We just visit the school to pick up clay at the beginning and end of the…quarter,” explained Ceramics II student Trinity Charbonneaux. 

Hannah Kim, also a Ceramics II student, pointed out a challenge. “In-person, cleaning up the tables was super easy, but now that I’m home it’s hard to constantly keep things clean.” 

Students are still able to do most of the things an in-person class would. “A popular component that I can’t teach remotely is working on the pottery wheel…[Besides that] I’m still teaching the same curriculum but having… [to] modify various aspects for students to work at home,” Zadra said.

Though students were given back clay, they are still alone in their rooms. According to Charbonneaux, “One of the best parts about the ceramic class was getting to work on your projects with your classmates. When that was taken away, it felt like a lot of the fun was taken away as well.” 

Another thing that has suffered from online classes is the drive to finish classwork. “Unlike when I was raring to go in class, it’s hard to find the motivation to begin working,” said Charbonneaux, “so I don’t feel like I’m improving at all.” 

Kim added, “It’s a little challenging for me to do ceramics first thing in the morning, having to get set up for only one hour of working, so usually I make sure to leave hours at night to do my projects.” On top of that, the pieces “won’t have fond memories to look back on… unlike my older pieces,” mentioned Charbonneaux.

Although both students prefer ceramics in person, ultimately taking ceramics was a good choice. Charbonneaux and Kim said they would have still signed up for the class had they known it would be online. “Making ceramic projects always helps me relax regardless of it being in person or online,” explained Kim. “ Now that it is online, it is a bit more challenging, nevertheless it’s still enjoyable.”