Paige Reyburn’s Art Students Create Pottery Worth Sharing
When Marcus High School recently posted a photograph of Paige Reyburn’s students’ pottery creations on social media, it garnered much attention.
“These kids are amazing,” one person wrote. “Wonderful! Do they have a show and sell?” another wrote. “Beautiful!”
Though it is obvious the community is quite proud of its young artists, no one could be prouder than Paige herself.
“This truly is my dream job. I enjoy watching these students’ excitement and growth as their skills develop. We have such a good time working and producing, experimenting and getting to know each other every day. I feel very lucky,” she says.
“I’m so impressed with a number of my advanced students who have become unbelievable production potters. These students have mastered the wheel, making multiple bowls, vases, mugs, teapots and plates.”
Paige says many of her students’ parents often request they make certain pieces.
“A boy who is in his second semester in here makes pasta bowls and small condiment bowls for his mom,” she says. “Another girl has made so many mugs, she is giving them to her friends and family members.”
Paige says her students love to gift their pieces to others.
“I always have a lot of students making birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day presents and graduation gifts. As soon as I unload a glaze kiln, the students all grab their things and whisk them away, sometimes before I even get a chance to admire them.”
Paige teaches 27 students in her Advanced Ceramics class and 29 in her Art 2 class. She says the students come to her with limited exposure to ceramic art.
“No background in pottery or ceramics is necessary. We start from scratch with all the basic techniques like pinch, slab and coil, which are all hand-building methods,” she says. “After the Art 2 students complete a project for each, they can move on to the wheel.”
Paige inspires her students by showing them how to create instead of just telling them.
“I sometimes sit at the potter’s wheel if I have a chance during class and whip out four or five bowls in just a few minutes. I show them how it’s important to know when to stop touching the clay and allow time and air to begin drying the clay,” she says. “I tell them, ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’ Practice, following proper technique and the desire to work with clay is all you need.”
She says her students pour much time and effort into their art.
“It’s not as easy as it looks, and the students get really excited about making their first bowls and cylinders. The beginning students sometimes make a big mess their first try at the wheel and laugh a lot at each other’s attempts. It is an overall very kind and encouraging atmosphere here,” Paige says. “We have fun.”
Paige’s students offer advice and encouragement to each other on a daily basis.
“One of the coolest things that happens in my class would be when I hear and see the students coaching and guiding each other while throwing on the wheel, glazing or working through a problem with their design,” she says. “Watching them discuss solutions, remind each other of the basics and even recognizing a failure makes me proud.”
Seeing their hard work come to fruition is extremely rewarding for Paige’s students.
“When it’s time to unload the kiln, it’s like Christmas morning. Everyone is interested when something comes out looking beautiful,” she says.
“They have a great sense of pride in their work. We make functional works of art literally out of mud. It’s like magic.”