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Kirtland. Claying Around.

If you missed Kirtland’s recent Pottery Friday, don’t despair!  Ceramics instructor Joe Donna plans to offer more clay-time opportunities next semester.

More than 100 bowls were crafted at Kirtland's first-ever Pottery Friday

More than 100 bowls were crafted at Kirtland’s first-ever Pottery Friday

So what are we talking about?  This Week @ Kirtland, we’re taking a look at some art, some instruction, and a lot of people exploring their creativity.  Joe Donna has been instructing ceramic students at Kirtland for quite some time, but for those of us who aren’t enrolled in one of the several classes he teaches, Joe came up with another way to use clay to get people interested in the art of ceramics  — Pottery Fridays.

Aside from being able to get some first-hand instruction from Joe, our ceramics open lab serves a bigger purpose.  What happens when you start with a small (or not so small) ball of clay in the Art Department’s Ceramics lab?  Well, at Pottery Friday, it meant bowls, bowls and more bowls!  And that’s a great thing, because these empty bowls are one way Kirtland and our Service Learning program benefit and support a local shelter – the River House Shelter in Grayling.  You see, these bowls are hand-fashioned in all kinds of shapes, sizes and designs.  Then, into the kiln they go for a couple days.  When the bowls are cured, a variety of glazes and colors make each bowl into a singularly unique and distinct piece of art.

Instructor Joe Donna plans to offer more Pottery Fridays next semester

Instructor Joe Donna plans to offer more Pottery Fridays next semester

In fact, at Kirtland’s first-ever Pottery Friday, Joe instructed and assisted “bowlers” in their quest to create the perfect empty bowl.  Actually about 100 empty bowls!  Normally, the annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser auctions about 400 bowls to support the River House.  This year, Joe is shooting for significantly more bowls to auction off, in large part due to the success of Pottery Friday.

Stay tuned for more info on the upcoming Empty Bowls fundraiser, but in the meantime, mark your calendars!  Pottery Friday was so well-received that Joe plans to offer several open ceramics labs during the Winter 2014 semester.  It’s a great way to explore the art of ceramics and learn a few tricks of the trade, all under the guidance of an experienced ceramics instructor and practicing artist.

At Kirtland, we’re preparing students for the future and having fun along the way.  Whether your passion is art or business, technology or science, cars or clippers…Kirtland opens doors to the future.   Claying around in the Ceramics Lab is just one more way we’re preparing you for personal and career success.  Keep your eyes open for more Pottery Fridays and come “bowling” with Joe Donna next semester!

To learn more about the programs, advising, testing, financial aid and other services available to students, contact 989-275-5000, extension 284, or visit us online.  And, as always, you are invited to drop in and check us out at, follow us on Twitter at, and like us on Facebook at

Kirtland.  Be the future.