Through a partnership with Westmoreland County Community College, students experienced a weeklong intensive class at Touchstone Center for Crafts from March 26-30 with instructor, Joe Sendek. One student, Jessica Rees, offered this review of her experience at Touchstone, “Took a week-long intensive class. Feels like I’ve been on vacation for a month. This is the most chill, yet in-depth teaching environment you’ll find. I will definitely be saving up my vacation time for another class.”
Currently living in the state of Washington, Joe Sendek has been offering workshops at Touchstone for over 20 years! He returned to teach “Clay 1 – Foundation Ceramics” through WCCC once again this season. This course introduces students to ideas and methods used in the contemporary field of ceramic object-making. Students use basic skills such as pinching, coil building, and slab construction to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Joe says, “it is not about the tools, it’s the final outcome” and encourages his students to think “beyond the pot and box” to creatively express ideas in clay.
Jessica Rees from Ruffsdale, PA has an undergraduate degree in biology from Clearwater Christian College in Florida. In the work she produced in the ‘Clay 1’ class, it is evident how her background in biology influences her artwork. The shapes in her sculptures are inspired by microscopic amoebae and radiolaria. Jessica states, “both art and biology are methods of exploring, explaining, and defining our world.”
Another student in the ‘Foundations’ class, Lisa Buettner is attending Seton Hill University for a masters degree in art therapy. Lisa graduated from California University of PA with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Lisa’s background has influenced her to incorporate symbols and geometric shapes in her work. Her inspiration comes from different cultures, including symbols of traditional Chinese characters and ancient hieroglyphics.
Peggy Bitner, from Mt Pleasant, PA, has a passion for helping people which led her to pursue a career in art therapy. She is currently attending Westmoreland County Community College and will be transferring to Seton Hill University in the fall of 2018 to complete her degree. Peggy was encouraged to take the ‘Clay 1 Foundations’ class at Touchstone by her advisor at WCCC. She is looking forward to applying her knowledge through fieldwork in art therapy and feels art offers an important way to communicate ideas.
Individuals interested in taking workshops at Touchstone for college credit through WCCC must first be WCCC students. In order to enroll, students should apply for admission and register with Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC). Applications are available online at wccc.edu or by calling the WCCC Admissions Office at 1-800-262-2103, ext. 4077. For information about other workshops and educational programming offered at Touchstone Center for Crafts, please call 724-329-1370 or visit touchstonecrafts.org.