AMOCA’s Clay Date allows for visitor creativity

Aida Nicole Lugo, teaching artist at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, holds a clay pot created from red air-dry clay using a coil technique. Lugo demonstrated rolling the clay to build a pot at the museum’s Clay Date event Sunday. / photo by Brandi Peters
Aida Nicole Lugo, teaching artist at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, holds a clay pot created from red air-dry clay using a coil technique. Lugo demonstrated rolling the clay to build a pot at the museum’s Clay Date event Sunday. / photo by Brandi Peters

Brandi Peters
Staff Writer 

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the American Museum of Ceramic Arts in Pomona hosted a Clay Date event, as part of their monthly family workshops, on Sunday. Families gathered around tables to create coiled clay vases with vibrant paper bouquets that were taken home for admiration. 

This all-age workshop focused on teaching coiling techniques to produce the desired look. Using red air-dry clay, wooden sticks, water, and a little imagination set the hands of creativity in motion. Aida Nicole Lugo, a studio instructor, store manager, and guest service personnel at AMOCA, demonstrated the art of coiling clay to build a vase. 

“The purpose of the event is to have some kind of offerings for intergenerational interactions to happen at the museum,” Carly Lake, education manager for K-12 and family programs at AMOCA, said.

Once the families completed their vases, they were given entrance into the museum where they could observe the current exhibition, “Breaking Ground: Women in California Clay,” which is set to run until March 12.

“It is a good opportunity to just come and relax and be with your family in a creative space,” Lake said.

Many guests took advantage of the family-friendly theme and had children accompanying them to play with the clay. 

“I wanted to spend quality time with my children and expose them to this coil technique and do something positive with art,” Betsy Pedleberg, a guest at the AMOCA Clay Date event, said.

Some guests learned about Clay Date from previous visits to the museum, whereas others found the information listed on the museum’s website under their events and programs section. 

Two visitors took the opportunity to make this event about Galentine’s Day and decided to spend an afternoon at the museum enjoying their friendship.

“We heard from a friend about the museum itself, so we went online to look up what kind of events they had, and we wanted to do a Galantines date, and it just so happened we saw the Clay Date on the website,” Kaitlyn Rynning, a visitor at the AMOCA Clay Date event, said.

The family workshops are held monthly, allowing the community to extend their knowledge of clay. AMOCA is currently undergoing construction to expand its program offerings beyond a monthly date. 

Now, they offer K-12 field trips, and Mud Mobile Museum visits, to name a few. But the build-out of the space will allow for a lecture hall, and an educational area to help beginners and entry-level clay learners.

“The reason we’re doing the workshop [outside] is right now we’re building out our renovation space to make it into an education area so that way we can better accommodate more field trips and have more of a studio setting for the kids,” Samuel Reguerra, educator at AMOCA, said.

Creating a bowl with a small base that goes up and out, Alex Chakmak, a guest at the Clay Date event, enjoyed his first time at the museum with his son, Levi Chakmak. The pair usually find stuff to do on the weekend to venture out. 

“I’m excited to go to the museum and see a lot of pots,” Levi Chakmak said.

Even though the Clay Date event is over, the American Museum of Ceramic Arts will continue hosting family-friendly workshops monthly. The next theme is a nature pattern and texture workshop with air-dry clay. A date is yet to be set for this coming March. 

For more information, visit AMOCA.org

Brandi Peters can be reached at brandi.peters@laverne.edu

Alex Chakmak and his son Levi Chakmak, guests at the American Museum of Ceramic Art’s Clay Date event, use red air-dry clay to build a pot on Sunday. Approximately 30 people attended the event. / photo by Brandi Peters
Alex Chakmak and his son Levi Chakmak, guests at the American Museum of Ceramic Art’s Clay Date event, use red air-dry clay to build a pot on Sunday. Approximately 30 people attended the event. / photo by Brandi Peters

Brandi Peters is a staff writer and staff photographer for the Campus Times, and a staff photographer for La Verne Magazine.

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