Remembering the Old Ceramics Room

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From the paint handprints on the walls, to the funky lights, to the decades of student artwork on the walls, the ceramics room is unlike any other room in the old Sehome building. The room has been a wonderful work space for students to enjoy and create for many years. The room has evolved every year to become what it is today. One is able to see the history of Sehome’s past creators by just looking at the walls and the room.

“My favorite thing about the old ceramics room is all the old pictures on the walls of the students in the past years throwing and sculpting in the same room that we do,” Delany Diehl (10) said. The creativity of the room inspires more creativity. For years, students have been inspired by the room to create any form of art.

“You can see all the history in it from last years like the signatures and hand prints on the walls and the pictures of old students that Sch

Old projects, new projects.
A quirky corner filled with a mix of student’s final products and works in progress.
Some of the art is years old and others are not even finished.

ang has [put] up,” Lily Gould (12) said.

Personally, I love the spacious workspace and the different closets and rooms (within the ceramics room) with their own purpose and feeling. Some people love the collaborative, loud, and energetic workspace.  A lot of students worked collaboratively in the big open workspace.  Others enjoyed a more peaceful environment. “I liked being able to hide from people in the glaze room. I was in a big class of mixed ceramics classes and it got loud easily, and it was relaxing to be able to sneak off to just hang out back there. The area was calming for me,” Myah McKinley (11) said. I believe that there are things to love about the ceramics room for everyone.

Many students describe the ceramics room to be peaceful and to be like another home. “Being in the ceramics room was like my form of meditation. I’d sit down at a wheel and all my stress would go away. It was like a second home,” Carson Gutierrez said.

Other students descried the space to feel safe and welcoming. “I was able to go in there and feel important weather I was good at ceramics or not. I didn’t feel stressed or anxious. I felt loved and cared about,” Madison Dominguez (11) said.

People choose to spend lots of time there. Most days before school, at lunch, and after school students are busy working on ceramics. Most days before and after school, students are working hard on work totally unrelated to ceramics or just hanging out. “I think my favorite part of being in the ceramics room is seeing people there every day after school and getting to know them,” Adrian Van’tHoog (11) said.

People who are not even students at Sehome hang out in the ceramics room. The ceramics room gets many visitors near holidays or breaks. College students/ Sehome alumni want to come back. “I want to come back because I have so many memories in this room. I spent a lot of time in high school. I love the dog-friendliness,” Lera Anders (Sehome alumni 2018) said.

The art marathons is an event where the art rooms are open to all from after school until 10pm to create and eat good snacks. Faculty and their family, family and friends of students, and locals come every time

Lonnie Schang has been a big reason why students love to be in the ceramics room so much for the last 27 years. Schang has a very important job at Sehome: “I am a ceramics teacher and student harasser and entertainment for students. Also, snack provider,” Lonnie Schang said.

Schang is a very important person to many students. “Schang has created an environment that is inviting and nurturing, one where he allows students to learn and experiment on their own,” Wil Henkel (12) said.

Schang has so much knowledge and shares it with everyone but allows great freedom for one to find their own flow. “I love that [Schang] believes that no matter what or who you are, that you can make beautiful art,” Diehl said.

Students value the space so much. I know I do. Almost every day on my way to my first or fifth period in the mornings before school, I stop by the ceramics room to move one of my pieces or get a head start on a project for later.

Some days I would just come in to get a cookie for encouragement for the coming day. “Schang always had good food,” Carson Gutierrez (12) said. Some days when I stopped by the ceramics room during lunch, Schang would be gone and come back from Haggen with snacks for his students.

He is also so generous with his time. He puts so much work into us students. “He is a one of a kind teacher that will always have a special place in my heart,” Dominguez said.

I don’t think that Mr. Schang realizes how much all of his students appreciate everything he does. “Almost all of what made that room that room can be credited to Mr. Schang” Raegan Meggyesy (Sehome alumni 2017) said.

As much as we all love the old building, boy is it time for a new building! Modernizing will be nice. “I will not miss the re-occurring ant infestation,” Schang said. Schang will miss his room and his big office. But on the bright side, “I will not miss the walk in the rain and up a hill to the bathroom,” Schang said. Schang is looking forward to the natural lighting and big glass garage doors. He is looking forward to having an outdoor patio, five new wheels, all new kilns and new furniture.

Although the old space will be missed, a new room is needed. “I think that character will be lacking but only because it’s a new space but I think more people will be inspired to work in an amazing studio. I think everyone is excited to work in the best ceramics studio in Bellingham,” Gutierrez said.

Not only did the room feel like a home, but the people felt like a sort of family. I think that everyone will miss the old room.  I also think that the passion for ceramics will carry over to the new school. “Ultimately I really think it’s how the future students will choose how to interact with the space. I think that for so long, our old school has lacked a lot of places for people to congregate and I think that the ceramics room has just filled that void for a lot of folks. I hope the future students in our new school do find a home in the ceramics room,” Henkel said.

Final days in the ceramics room.
A busy ceramics one class finishes up their final projects.
As the semester approaches, the students need to get their pieced done. From salt and pepper shakers to bowls to sculptures.

The old room will be remembered as a highlight to many students who have gone through Sehome. “[The ceramics] room to me is like a safe haven where I don’t think about the school or things at one and can just create. [I] definitely wouldn’t have gotten through high school without having spent as much time there as I have,” Henkel said.

To this day I discover new things about the room. For the new room we will just have to “funky it up” (as Schang says) for years ahead and leave our mark. “I guess [ceramics] also let me leave a tangible legacy,” Gutierrez said.

The old ceramics room will be missed but new memories and art will be created in the new space. “The culture of ceramics at Sehome shouldn’t die with the room,”Meggyesy said.

 

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