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Chemeketa art student provides recycled creativity

Andrew Kuenzi, a third-year visual communications student, high-fives his latest creation of recycled slip clay in the Bldg. 5 pottery room.

Andrew Kuenzi, a third-year visual communications student, high-fives his latest creation of recycled slip clay in the Bldg. 5 pottery room.

By Willadean Wright – Photo by Brad Bakke

Andrew Kuenzi has taken something intended for the recycling heap and turned it into art.

“We collect the slip clay from the Pottery Wheel Throwing class,” he said. “And then we put it on to a board to dry out to be sold to students for a discount as recycled clay, so one day I just decided to mess around with it and get creative.”

Kuenzi, 23, has been at the college for three years and said he has always enjoyed expressing his creativity.

Since coming to Chemeketa, he’s seen his creativity blossom.

“I have made an alligator, a snake, and a monster. Sometimes if I have recycled colored clay, I add to the features with different colors,” he said.

“Sometimes the other students come in and add to it. I come back the next day and it has evolved with added features. It can get pretty interesting.”

Kuenzi said that clay became his medium because he could make 3D art.

“It expanded my artistic eye in how things corresponded,” he said. “I love the history and the process of pottery.”

Kuenzi was originally planning to major in business but recently decided that he’d rather pursue art instead.

“I decided to follow my heart. I wish people took the pottery program more seriously or art in general,” he said.

Kuenzi said one reason behind his change of heart was the support of his instructors, who have encouraged his love of pottery.

Lee Jacobson, a pottery instructor who has been at Chemeketa for more than 36 years, said, “Andrew has so much fun working with the recycled clay.”

Among items of interest from Kuenzi: a big mouth with teeth and a Sasquatch.

“Andrew is a great worker,” Jacobson said. “He takes initiative and follows through. Andrew is a young man who has taken it upon himself to decorate this clay all on his own.”

While Kuenzi enjoys the creative outlet that pottery provides, it is slightly different from the profession he would like to pursue.

“I want to work in the visual arts with Claymation. When I am done with the two-year program at Chemeketa, I want to work in Portland for Laika Productions,” he said.

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