Wellness ceramic mural finished after three years of perseverance

The+three+completed+panels+display+an+array+of+blue+waves+across+the+outside+of+the+Wellness+Center

Aler Giffin

The three completed panels display an array of blue waves across the outside of the Wellness Center

In the making for roughly three years, the ceramic mural, created by 2019 AP Ceramics students, is ready to be displayed in front of the Wellness Center at Archie Williams High School.

The AP Ceramics students started the project in 2019, composed mainly of juniors. After the students working on it graduated last year, college freshman Taylor Jones came back to work with Beth Cederstrom, the ceramics teacher at Archie Williams High School (AWHS). For the past school year, the two of them worked together to finish the mural.

The group predicted that the project would be completed by the end of 2019; instead, the mural took nearly three years of work. Unforeseen obstacles prolonged the process; not only did the students lack experience in making murals, but unique challenges awaited them.  

“Part of it is working with a temperature we don’t usually do, so we ended up doing tons of glaze tests and people did little individual murals and there was a lot of testing that went into it, which is one of the reasons it’s taking so long,” Cederstrom said.

Despite the amount of time spent on the project, the theme of the mural is still relevant today. The group’s vision was to create something for Wellness that represents the pattern of life. The mural depicts waves of the ocean, touching on the idea that life can often reflect the pattern of waves. While there are always ups and downs, there is consistent beauty.

“If you want to think of it as a metaphor, the way our mural is and represents life is kind of like how it’s been for us working on it, you know?” said Jones. “It starts out and it’s really rough and we’re not getting a lot done and then at the end it’s…grounding.”

 The four panels were displayed Wednesday, May 12, on the bottom of the wall of the Wellness Center. The engineering students and teacher volunteered to put up the mural, ensuring that the delicate ceramics are not harmed in the process.

While the project was long and convoluted, the experience bonded Cederstrom and her students. Spending so much quality time together created a close relationship not all students get with their teachers. 

“I mean it’s been really fun, it’s been a labor of love. It’s been kind of frustrating and I’ve loved working with Taylor because she’s awesome and really has become a friend, and more than just some student,” Cederstrom said. 

The common goal to display a meaningful message on a pivotal part of AWHS motivated the ceramicists along their journey. While this project is very personal to the students who worked on the mural, they want people passing by to feel a similar love and appreciation for it.

“If I could just get one thing from doing all this… when people …pass this mural they see the effort and kind of the story behind it… and be like this is my life, maybe I just need to take a step back,” Jones said.

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