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Purchase of kiln allows for ceramics at Grangeville schools

Grangeville arts teacher assists student Allie Smith with her stained glass art project in his GEMS advanced art class.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Grangeville arts teacher assists student Allie Smith with her stained glass art project in his GEMS advanced art class.



GRANGEVILLE — A sixth grade ceramics project has come full circle for Grangeville schools art teacher Patrick Phillips.

“I still remember doing it and really liking it,” he said. “I was the kid who bought all sorts of art supplies things to try at home.”

Thanks to a donation from local arts patrons Craig and Jane Spencer, Phillips was recently able to purchase a kiln and molds from a local family. He will be implementing ceramics into both his high school and Grangeville Elementary Middle School art classes.

“I’m pretty excited – it something I’ve thought about for a long time,” Phillips said. Originally, he was told the high school power system in the shop would not be able to handle a kiln. However, agricultural sciences teacher Lindsay Stephens found the system would support the electricity needed and welcomed the addition to the shop, Philips said.

Philips said the family he purchased the kiln from also gave him “thousands of glazes.”

“Literally – every color imaginable,” he said.

In the past Phillips said he has been asked why he doesn’t just use air-dry clay.

“And we have for some projects – but it is considerably more expensive,” he explained. Comparatively, he can purchase the ceramic clay for about $6 or $7 for 25 pounds while the air dry clay costs about $120 for 10 or 15 pounds.

“Firing the clay in the kiln also gives the chance for a more finished, professional look,” he said.

Last year, Phillips received a $500 grant from Grangeville Community Foundation to purchase enough materials for his advanced junior high class to implement stained glass projects.

“I have had a lot of generous people who have donated items too,” Phillips said. “It would be hard to have the caliber of art program we do without the support from people who care about the arts.”



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