August 15 was a very special day for the ceramics program at the J and our devoted students. It wasn’t enough that we have been welcomed back into a beautiful new studio and have been so well treated by the staff at the J.
Through the auspices of the Ceramic Store (which has been so generous to us since Harvey), we were treated to a glaze workshop sponsored by Amaco Glaze Company. Not only did the president of the company travel to Houston himself, he also brought one of his top educators to demonstrate, explain, and answer questions.
There is a debate in the Talmud over how to interpret a particular phrase in the Book of Psalms. “Rabbi Judah HaNasi and the sages differed in this matter. One said [the phrase should be interpreted as], ‘The character of the generation is determined by its leader.’ And one said [the phrase should be interpreted as], ‘The character of the leader is determined by its generation’” (Arachin 17a).
Although the debate is not definitively concluded, its implications are worth noting—a nation and its leaders are inextricably linked, and each has a role and responsibility in shaping the other.
It was 45 years ago that my mom, Henrietta Bell, started the Nite Owls program. My sister was in her teens when my mom realized she would need a peer group for social activities to meet her developmental differences as she aged. This was in 1964.
Ceramics is a fulfilling hobby. There are endless components that test one’s skills.
Starting with wedging, the process of making the clay supple, there are unlimited techniques to learn. Whether you like hand building or use the wheel, it’s a challenge that takes practice.
Until this fall, my preference was building all sorts of items on the wheel. The tactile sensation of working the clay on the wheel and the visual affirmation when your product is complete is an amazing feeling. Bowls, mugs, colanders to serve berries, plates, even made a lemon squeezer...the projects are infinite.
Six months ago the painting/drawing and ceramic studios, located in our lower level, were washed away by Hurricane Harvey. Renovations to the studios are underway and expected to be completed by the end of May. However, students will not have to wait for the studios to re-open and can once again enjoy art classes this spring in temporary spaces at the J.
After Harvey, art students lost all of their tools and pieces they were working on before the flood. The ceramic studio lost six potting wheels and two kilns. Maxine Silberstein, program coordinator for adult visual arts, stated, “Having lost the studio due to Harvey, we were not sure when it would be possible to offer another ceramic class.”
Jen Glantz is the author of Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire): Stories on Growing Up, Looking for Love and Walking Down the Aisle for Complete Strangers, a professional bridesmaid and blogger.
Glantz will join us on Thursday, March 1 to kick off Celebrating Women Month. She recently shared her thoughts on being a bridesmaid, weddings and her nomadic lifestyle.
J Ride started in mid-May and has been up and running for over 45 weeks now. Last week marked a milestone as we have now provided over 1,000 rides. These rides are a lifeline for many members of our community. The J Ride service gets them to medical and personal care appointments, as well as to the grocery store. Because of J Ride, seniors and special needs adults in our community can feel a greater sense of independence as they don’t need to rely on a family member or friend to take them everywhere.
Twice a week a J Ride driver picks up Faith and Louis Marshall to take Mr. Marshall to his dialysis appointment. Prior to using J Ride, the Marshall’s did not have a dependable ride. “The J Ride service has made all the difference in our lives. The J Ride drivers are wonderful, kind, and considerate. I can’t say enough about the drivers,” says Faith Marshall.
The Marshall’s story is one of 83 stories...
A poorly kept secret is that we have a first class ceramics program and a very high quality, well equipped studio at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC. This is not a paint-by-number program, but it is one where students of any level can learn to create their works of art from raw clay and bring them to completion. We have wonderful, up-to -date equipment, and we use first class materials. Instruction is led by professional ceramic artists. Our newest additions are new cabinets, new sink, new lighting, a double wedging table, a slab roller and a wall mounted clay extruder. Dozens of glazes and underglazes are available and are constantly replenished. An additional kiln is on the way as well.
Our dwindling program was kept alive for many years mostly by the untiring efforts of Judy Mellon and Marge Mayer. Now because of enthusiastic students, quality instructors and support and investment from the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, the program is growing in popularity. The classes run two hours long, and unlike some other ceramic studios there is ample "studio time" for work to be perfected and completed to each student's full satisfaction. At this time we have a class for wheel instruction as well as a class for hand building. Class sizes are optimal now, but if future registration continues to increase, additional classes are possible.
You're welcome to visit and watch the artists at work. The classes are on Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM. In addition to the class instruction the studio is available to students Monday-Friday. To learn more about the ceramic program and other art classes visit erjcchouston.org/art.
Hope to see you soon.
Member and Ceramics Student