Ceramic Studio Offers Community Kiln Therapy

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BY ALEXANDRA FERRAGAMO
STAFF WRITER

Frank Olt and Dan Christoffel, professors of art, with a sculpture in the ceramics studio-Photo by Alexandra Ferragamo

For any students looking for a place to indulge in a hands-on way to relax, experience a new art form, unleash creativity, or get rid of anxious energy, the ceramics studio is open to all students interested in creating a piece of their own.

The studio is located in the Craft Center between Life Sciences and Kumble Hall. Frank Olt, professor of art, is in charge of the ceramics studio and has enjoyed teaching students on campus since 1988. Olt mentioned that the ceramics studio is a place to sculpt, as well as connect with others and create a warm environment. “The sense of community is astounding. We have alumni and senior citizen volunteers from the surrounding area that come in,” he said. “Sculpting is a communal activity. Everyone is gathered around the fire, symbolically the kiln.”

“I met a lot of people here at LIU Post solely through sitting next to them by chance in the studio and creating art,” Rebecca Ebner (‘19) said. “These are people that I have no classes with, that I am fortunate enough to have been sculpting with. There would have been no other way that we could have met. I am thankful for the friends that I have made. It makes the studio feel more like a family.”

Students visit the studio seemingly every day, eager to offer and receive help, according to Ebner. Professors including Olt and Dan Christoffel roam the studio ready to answer questions or show students how to execute a step in the sculpting process. There is always a pot of either coffee or tea always in the back, next to a shelf of sculpted mugs made by students and faculty.

“With the advent of new age wellness and mindfulness, even children in elementary school are taught this,” Olt said, regarding ceramics sculpting. “Ceramics helps. It sort of yoga for the hands, mind, and body in terms of art.”

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