Coe Physics Department, Ceramics Center collaborate on summer program

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2011-06-13 15:17:37 - General

As part of a unique collaboration, Coe Physics Professors Mario Affatigato and Steve Feller, along with five college students on campus for scientific research, will be leading summer sessions for young artists at The Ceramics Center in Cedar Rapids.

The special series of camps onThe Science and Art of Clay and Glass” will enable participants to become acquainted, in an age-appropriate manner, with the physics and chemistry of clay and glass, and then make art objects in pottery and glass. Each class will be team taught by experienced science and art teachers. The Coe College Department of Physics has garnered a national reputation as one of the premier undergraduate teaching programs in the science of glass materials in the country.

"I like the idea of mixing the disciplines of physics and art to create this program for young students," said Affatigato.  "While most people would consider these areas to be separate and distinct, there is actually a lot of overlap.  One of the things we hope to demonstrate to the participants is that students don't have to limit themselves to one area of study.  They can combine different areas, such as science and art, to create their own opportunities."

According to Executive Director Ben Jensen, the Ceramics Center is pleased to be able to bring this expertise to the art classroom.

"Our summer camp schedule has something for everybody.  I'm most excited about our new partnership with the Coe Physics Department,” noted Jensen.  "There are few opportunities to have such a direct cross-topic learning environment such as this."

The Ceramics Center is offering 22 separate camps throughout the summer for students ranging in age from first grade through seniors in high school. Each of the camps runs for two to three weeks. All camps are structured to accommodate both the beginner and the experienced student. Camps are limited to 12 participants per session. The camps led by the Coe Physics Department include:

“The Science and Art of Clay and Glass”
Grades 1-4
Make candy! Have some fun. And learn why sugar-based candy is an exceptionally good model for understanding glass. See glass made on the spot. And then make your own clay and glass objects. Working with experienced science and art teachers, you’ll learn the science of glass, as well as beginning pottery and glass-forming techniques.
MWF – June 13 to June 24, 9 - 11 a.m.

“The Science and Art of Clay and Glass”
Grades 5-8
See how glass is actually made. Learn the “magic” of Rupert’s Drops – then make your own glass ornaments, pendants and sun-catchers. You’ll learn the fundamentals of glass fusing and the techniques necessary to make your own glass artwork.
You will also have the opportunity to work with clay and glazes (a form of glass) to make useful and beautiful art items for the house.
TuTh – June 14 to June 30, 9 - 11 a.m.

“The Science and Art of Clay and Glass”
Grades 9-12
Learn the fundamentals of glassmaking and the root of color in glass. A standard crucible and furnace will be used to demonstrate melting and the manufacture of different colored glasses. Learn the connection between the science of glass and glazes as you make and glaze your own pottery. You’ll learn how to use slabs to create a series of plates, bowls and cups, and have the opportunity to experiment with both low-fire and high-fire glazing techniques to finish your work.
MWF – June 13 to June 24, 3 - 5 p.m.

For more information, please contact Ben Jensen at 365-9644 or by email at Participants can also register online at The Ceramics Center is located at 329 10th Ave. SE, Suite 117.