Students sell ceramics, draw awareness to clay culture


Child Development major Patty DeLeon shows off a ceramic piece she made during the pottery sale in front of Trinity Commons. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Natalie Hanson

There’s a blooming art culture in Chico, and it’s far from being a new phenomenon. According to Katie Applebaum, clay culture is strong in Chico and it’s growing right here on campus.

It was a clear, sunny morning at Trinity Commons Wednesday and Applebaum was right there at a table full of wares, welcoming passing students to check out the stand she and another student sat beside. The wares were homemade pieces of pottery, from pots and bowls to pendants and stones. They were made by students like Applebaum and her assistant, Patty DeLeon, and that morning were for sale to help fund the Clay Club on campus.

The Clay Club is a community for students who love ceramics, and both Applebaum and DeLeon are active members. The sale was designed to allow these students to sell their work and bring attention to the art they are creating. Applebaum said she was selling some of her own pieces.

“Last semester we had the opportunity to show in (the) La Mancha (gallery),” said Applebaum, who declined being photographed. “It wasn’t clay work… but it was still an amazing opportunity to show our work.”

“It really throws you into being more involved in the art community,” Applebaum added.

Applebaum said she hopes to someday work in a ceramics lab at a university. “It’s really fulfilling to watch people learn something, from the very point they start until they get inspired, because it takes them a lot of time to process.”

“I have a lot of mentors from my transfer college, Butte College,” she said. “I actually live at one of their houses… so, I’m really invovled in the clay culture.”

Applebaum says she feels this clay culture among ceramics artists is very strong in Chico. She added that she only recently created an Instagram account to share her work. “I’m a little older than a lot of you,” she laughed, “and I don’t really use social media… I probably do a lot of things differently.” She sees it as an easy way to be more visible in Chico’s growing art community.

Her assistant at the table, Child Development major Patty DeLeon, was busy pointing out pieces for questioning onlookers and smiling at passersby. DeLeon added that she has also been involved in ceramics for years. “I’ve taken classes ever since (high school), but I’m too busy with my major now,” she said.

DeLeon plans to continue to help with the Clay Club and to “keep throwing” as she put it, when she has free time. She cited teachers and her boyfriend for inspiring her to get better at throwing.

The students referred to Rebecca Feldstein, Visual Resource Curator at the Department of Art and History, for more information about ceramics and arts in general for students who are interested. According to Feldstein, the next event students can look forward to will be the Open Studios Art Tour events, starting on Oct. 5. Each event will be free and welcome to all.

The pottery sale, which continued through Thursday, did very well that morning on Trinity Lawn. Before noon, the pieces on the large rack next to their table was quickly emptying. The girls expected most pieces to be gone by Thursday.

Patty DeLeon, left, and Katie Applebaum, right, sell ceramics on behalf of the Clay Club outside Trinity Hall. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Asked which pieces were hers, DeLeon could only indicate several, saying that most of her work had already been bought that day.

“I think everything else got bought already,” she said happily, and returned to the table to join Applebaum in showing more passersby their artwork.

Natalie Hanson can be reached at @[email protected] or @NatalieH_Orion on Twitter.