by mary Lyle
As soon as you enter the doors at Roe Studio at Whatcom Community College, you know exactly what the building is for: art. Students’ displays of ceramic vases with flowers, miniature clay pots, and unique sculptures clutter shelves and tables throughout the room.
Most students who have not taken a pottery or ceramics class, are probably unfamiliar with Roe Studio. Situated toward the back of Cascade, Roe Studio is somewhat isolated from the rest of Whatcom’s buildings. So unless a student is headed to Roe, it can remain out of sight, out of mind.
Students are sprawled out in the room diligently working and shaping with clay while talking with each other. Jessy Stewart, 21, took ceramics for four years in high school and loves it. She is currently working on a ceramic bumblebee tea set with “a beehive as the whole teapot.” Stewart says students can come to Roe Studio on the weekends to work on projects if you get a key card. She enjoys spending time outside of class in the studio hanging out with friends she has met in Roe and putting in extra time on her projects.
Ceramics instructor, Rob Beishline, says there are three different groups of ceramics classes going on in Roe. There is a class enrolled for credit, another for community education which does not receive credit, and studio potters. Studio potters are students that have already taken all of the available ceramic classes and just pay for space to use in the studio along with their own materials. So not just any student can come in and use Roe to make ceramics; only students enrolled in one of the classes have permission to use the studio.
“I like being able to watch students surprise themselves,” said Beishline. “Students sometimes think they aren’t creative, and then they make something they are proud of.”
Rob Sill, 29, created a sculpture of a baby with a tongue hanging out of its stomach winter quarter. The sculpture, which stands a little over a foot tall, is still on display in Roe. Sill said he got his inspiration from flipping through ceramic books, and says the books have “a lot of sculptures that have body parts in different locations” than they belong. Sill said he loves ceramics for “being able to be creative and throwing things on the wheel.” He is unsure of what his next project is going to be, but says that it is going to be similar to the sculpture of the baby with the mouth in the stomach.