Inside the artist’s mind

Students reveal secrets to ideas, inspiration


Megan Berg

Working carefully, Dunlap’s hands add the finishing coil and rub the clay on the inside to smooth it out and connect the coils together.

The artist’s mind and the ideas that come from it can be quite interesting. When looking at art, the question that is often asked is, Where did you get that idea? 

Dustin Farmer’s ceramics class at Seward County Community College constantly has assignments requiring students to be creative. These artists have to think about their art, the process and the inspiration behind them. 

Dunlap adds on the last coil and stands back to admire her design. She wasn’t excited to do the project at first but was surprised by how it turned out. (Megan Berg )

Sanaa Dunlap, a visual art major from Liberal, was just putting the finishing touches on her about two-foot tall ceramic work of art. It was a coil art piece that Dunlap had taken about three weeks to work on. 

When the art student first started on her assignment, she didn’t like hand-building; but she was very surprised at how good it turned out. The idea she originally sketched out for the piece turned out to be completely different from her first design. 

Dunlap laughed about it saying, “I start with a sketch but end up with something completely different. It’s a process.” 

She said the piece didn’t have much inspiration to it. She felt like she “just created what felt right and free-handed it.” 

Dunlap has been doing ceramics for five years. She took a class in eighth grade but started taking it seriously when she became a freshman. She even placed third in a clay throwing competition. Dunlap hadn’t expected to win since it was her first year doing it. 

Nunnery poses with her fish sculpture carefully. The artist has plans for the heavy project to paint the tail and lips a bright green and the body a reddish brown color. (Megan Berg )

Another one of Farmer’s students was Ka’Jae Nunnery, a visual art major from Guymon, Oklahoma. She had been sick and missed class for a few days but she finished a coil fish project. 

“When you’re in class working on a piece, you lose track of time. It took a while, especially since we only meet two days a week. I think it took me about two and a half weeks to do,” said Nunnery. 

The piece hasn’t been glazed yet but she has an idea of what she wants to do. Her plans are to paint the tail and lips a bright green and do the body a deep reddish-brown. 

She started by making the pot and eventually came up with the fish. Nunnery said she thinks fish are one of the coolest creatures to sculpt because their dimensions are somewhat equal all around. 

Nunnery has been doing art all of high school except for her sophomore year when she was homeschooled. Her teacher had even wanted to take her to an art competition but she didn’t end up going. She plans to continue to pursue art in the future as an interior designer. 

One of Farmer’s long-term students is Bill Asmussen. He is the assistant director for SCCC’s adult basic education. 

“I do ceramics because it helps relax me. I just think about the project I have in front of me,” said Asmussen. 

The project he is currently working on is an intricate four-piece work that has taken him all of the semester to do. The project includes four juice cartons each with different heights and some with designs on them. 

The ceramic milk cartons are made by Bill Asmussen, the assistant director for adult basic education. It is an ongoing project Asmussen has been working on in ceramics class since the beginning of the semester. (Megan Berg)

Asmussen is a lover of ceramics. He has been doing ceramics for over 20 years and took classes back when he was in college. 

 Art student Elizabeth Horenik, a biology major from Sublette, is working on a mug with an intricate dinosaur design on the side. She made the mug for her sister who brought her a picture of the design. 

“My sister has always been one of the biggest supporters of my art. She’s a paleontologist. When she came to me with an idea she had about a mug, I wanted to make it for her. The specific fossil is a pretty famous pterosaur,” Horenik said. 

The process of making the mug took Horenik quite a long time. She originally started it last December but wasn’t able to complete it. In May she finally started making the “fossil” on the side. 

Currently, the mug isn’t finished since there aren’t enough pieces to fill a glaze kiln yet. 

Horenik has been doing ceramics for five years starting as a freshman in high school. She has won multiple awards including a scholastic gold key and multiple scholastic silver keys on a few of her pieces. 

Ceramics is a form of art that SCCC members use to express themselves, find relaxation in and appreciate other people with.