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Skyridge Clay Club artists get creative

Afterschool sculptors
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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This is way better than homework. A group of Skyridge Elementary students have opted to extend their school day beyond the final bell the past few Tuesdays, having fun and getting their hands dirty during Clay Club, an enrichment class taught by Eric Peach. Roughly a dozen students added colored raku glazes to clay luminarias they’d already sculpted and fired Tuesday afternoon. The range of this group’s active imaginations was apparent, as boys and girls worked on everything from Mexican frogs to singing girls to a pumpkin with blue braids and a candy-corn body. “They’re free to do whatever they want,” Peach said of the students. “This is an introduction to sculpture for them. With a little bit of instruction and a little bit of help they can have immediate success with it.” Fifth-grader Claire Brown applied green glaze to an iguana Tuesday afternoon. “I wanted to make the big spikes along the back, and the curly tail,” she said. Claire has enjoyed the clay classes thus far. “It’s really fun, I think, because he lets you do whatever you want, with whatever colors you like,” she said. “I like how, when it starts out it’s a big glob of nothing, but you can form it into any shape you want.” Third-grader Brenn Haydon opted to design a singing girl for the luminaria project. “I just kind of wanted to do something Christmas-y,” she said. “It’s really fun to work with clay and it’s just really fun to create your own thing when it’s done and smooth, and you’re like, ‘Wow, I really made that.’” Fourth-grader Blair Rogers used a lot of brown glaze on his luminaria. “It’s a chicken with a pot on its head,” he explained. “I like chickens and I have them in my backyard.” Across the table from Blair, fellow fourth-grader Kazik Lewandowski decorated a giraffe. “I’ve been in Mr. Peach’s class before. This is the first time I’ve done something normal,” he said. “Everything else is an alien, a zombie or a monster.” Peach has been teaching the enrichment classes at Auburn-area schools for years, rotating between campuses. “I love clay and the teachers don’t have that many opportunities to do it in the classroom,” he said. “Clay is so great. I tell them, ‘you can’t make a mistake. You can add. You can subtract.’” Peach gets a kick out of working with the students on campus. He and wife Paula also teach art out of their home studio. “I just love their creativity,” he said. “It’s so magical. They have such rich imaginations at this age, and they don’t have many opportunities to take an idea and turn it into a three-dimensional sculpture.” The Auburn Library will display the Skyridge students’ creations during the month of November. The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com, or comment online at Auburnjournal.com.