- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

HEBRON, Ind. (AP) - Hebron High School student artists are recreating the Chinese Bronze Age as they sculpt bowls and other pieces of fine pottery for class.

The students, directed by Hebron High School art teacher Karen Jania, are experimenting with high-fired glazing, using a kiln or molding a piece of clay to make pots with a grayish or brownish appearance. The students have trained their eyes to see and understand the visual world in a more sensitive manner, they said.

Jania teaches art classes along with visual communication focusing on graphic design. She also teaches a drawing class where students receive high school credit and credit from Purdue University North Central, Westville.

Jania said students learn the proper use of sculptural materials and the basic techniques of modeling, carving and construction. In the ceramics class, students learn building methods using clay, and glazing and firing procedures.

Every student keeps a sketchbook. Students are graded on a set of criteria set out before completing the assignment. Jania also looks at craftsmanship, attention to detail and the finished composition.

She said they also do a self-evaluation, and if there is a difference then she discusses it with them.

“Students are usually tougher on themselves than I am,” she said.

Hebron sophomore Heather Goff, who was working on a Chinese yang pot, said, “This class is really fun. When I’m in art, I find it very relaxing.”

Senior Samantha Janowicz echoed the same sentiment as she molded the lids for a Chinese bronze pot.

“This is very calming. I can come in here and work, and it calms me down,” Janowicz said. The senior plans to major in veterinary medicine but is considering art as a minor.

The students also have won a variety of art contests this school year.

Student Annabell Folsom took home second place for a mixed media piece she did for the Calumet College of St. Joseph high school art exhibit in February.

Junior Tyler Hill won Best of Show in a recycling contest called Re-Think Art, hosted by the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County. He made a 4-foot deer head sculpture using shell casings, an old fence post, cardboard and leaves, Jania said.

“He did a beautiful job. I was so proud of him,” she said. “He checked in with me from time to time, but he took full responsibility for the project.”

After high school, Hill said he plans to pursue a major in art and enjoys creating all kinds of different projects though his specialty is sculpture and wood work.

“If something interests me I have no problem taking on the challenge,” he said.

Hill and student Ashley Rumford also have placed in the South Shore Art Exhibit, held Sunday at the Visual and Performing Arts Center in Munster. Hill won an Outstanding Award and Rumford won the South Shore Arts Regional Award for Young Artists, Porter County.

Jania and her art students take part in the Empty Bowls project, an international project to fight hunger, personalized by artists and art organizations around the nation.

“All of the students and the art club is involved,” she said.

Jania said the money is donated to the Hebron Country Food Pantry, operated by Hebron United Methodist Church. This year, the event was held in February and students made more than 300 bowls. She said they raised about $3,500. Overall, students have donated about $15,000 to the food pantry as a result of the Empty Bowls project, Jania said.

Jania has been teaching 15 years at Hebron High and said she loves the students, administrators and her fellow teachers.

“I feel very fortunate to be in this position,” she said.

She hopes students leave her class with several lessons.

“I hope they have learned something about themselves, maybe it has sparked an interest and discovered a talent that they had previously not developed,” Jania said.

Mainly, she wants them to “see” differently.

“Art is about problem solving. Everyone has a problem or assignment yet they all go about solving it in a different way,” Jania said. “In art, students think creatively.”

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Source: The Munster Times, https://bit.ly/1IbCvfa

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Information from: The Times, https://www.thetimesonline.com


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