District 113 summer school class teaches ceramics fundamentals
Madison Knobloch, 15, of Highland Park works on a piece during a District 113 summer school wheel throwing class on Tuesday. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2012 6:09AM
HIGHLAND PARK — District 113 parents and students who flipped through the 2012 summer school brochure may have seen a class titled “Wheel Throwing.”
Perhaps confusing to people who have read the popular book series, The Hunger Games, and presumed it was a skill Katniss and Peeta needed to compete against the other districts.
Tyrone Nelson would inform otherwise and didn’t major in ceramics to teach students how to throw heavy metal wheels. Nelson is the instructor of the six-week ceramics class, taught at Highland Park High School.
“I love this school and I love my job,” said Nelson, the fine and applied arts department chairman at Highland Park High School.
“He’s very motivational and teaches us not to give up,” Deerfield High School sophomore Paige Miller said.
Students learn a variety of skills, including the fundamentals of throwing clay on the wheel and glaze chemistry. It’s important for students to work with glaze, “so that (they) can understand how to take colors and make them look as professional as possible,” Nelson said.
The 15 Deerfield and Highland Park residents enrolled in the class have made mugs, teapots, bowls and vases. Nelson said the class’s popularity is a result of its creative aspect.
“A lot of kids just want to have the experience of throwing,” he said.
There’s constantly something to do in the ceramics studio. During the two-hour class, students clean their wheel, cut clay, sculpt art and glaze their finished pieces.
“I’ve never done wheel throwing before and I’ve always wanted to try it,” Deerfield High School sophomore Brent Drazner said of enrolling in the class.
Deerfield High School sophomore Hana Koppel said she’s excited to do more with ceramics once the class ends. Koppel and her mother have talked about taking a class together.
Some enjoy the class because of Nelson.
“He’s awesome, really funny and teaches really well,” Koppel said.
Nelson teaches a ceramics class during the academic year and believes “a creative experience enriches mental capacity and thinking.”