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Ceramics at MSU brings in new equipment capable of testing local clay

Anabel Peterman

The Morehead State University Ceramics Guild and the Department of Communication, Media, Art & Design received $25,000 through a grant from the Windgate Foundation. The funds are being used to update MSU's 15-year-old ceramics equipment.

Officials said with the funds, the Ceramics Guild has already replaced three electric kilns and introduced one smaller ‘test kiln’, along with a clay mixer. With the new equipment, students can process and fire clay they gather from nature themselves.

Quinn Maher is the Instructor of Ceramics at MSU. He said clay has a rich history in the Morehead area, and the new equipment will help make the hands-on research more personal to the students.

“I’m always looking for opportunities to really tie what we do into the community at large, and especially for the students here who are largely from here, to tie into their lineage and heritage and connection to the area as well,” said Maher. “And so, the opportunity to go across the street and dig some clay and test it and see how it looks or how it fires or if it’s usable or not.”

Maher said the updated equipment will help students learn the art of ceramics with industry standard technology.

“It just ensures that nothing will interrupt the process, or the flow, of their projects being completed in a timely fashion. What it really means is, I get to teach students how to operate this equipment, and they get to learn on the latest and greatest that’s available in all of [the] industry, here at Morehead.”

The Ceramics Guild offers classes for students of all skill levels, and Maher said he also hopes to offer community classes as soon as the summer of 2024.

Officials said the Windgate Foundation serves to enhance visual arts education by providing grants across the United States.