Ellen ’24 is a studio art major with a concentration in sculpture. The Ohio native developed a love of ceramics in high school, and now she applies what she is learning in Student Craft’s ceramics program to her major. She hopes to have her own ceramics studio and shop one day.
Ellen came into Berea as a business major but after taking some classes in that field decided it wasn’t really for her. She had a passion for making things. In between classes and college life, she sits at the wheel, making bowls and mugs for Student Craft’s Flux Collection. Her work is sold at the Berea College Visitor Center and Shoppe, the Log House Craft Gallery and online.
“I get a lot of satisfaction and joy from it because I really love doing this,” Ellen said. “I can come in, sit down, make some pots and forget everything else that’s going on. It’s a very safe place for me.”
In her safe place, Ellen focuses on solving problems, mainly pottery problems. Solving them involves a presence of mind, an ability to work through frustration. Working with clay isn’t zoning out, it’s zoning in.
“If I’m somewhere else mentally,” she said, “I start to lose the center of my clay. It starts getting wobbly. Clay is very responsive to your touch. Even the slightest thing can throw it off.”
While the process of making is joyful and satisfying, what Ellen loves most is how a piece she makes connects her to its eventual buyer.
“Each piece I make is not going to be exactly the same as another one,” she said. “One thing about having people make things instead of machines is that you have that human touch. You have the minor flaws, those maker marks. A lot of times, people don’t notice those things until they’ve had a piece for a while and studied it. That connection isn’t just from the moment you acquire the piece—it’s like you keep finding things out about it the whole time you have it.”
Every Piece Tells a Story
When you purchase a handmade Berea College Student Craft product, you are buying much more than a bowl or mug. Each piece is imprinted with the identity and heart of the student who made it.
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