Ceramics Professor Molds his Story

Rodrigo Macias

By Dina Bollweg, Jennifer Escoab, and Rodrigo Macias

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It wasn’t molding clay into beautiful pieces of art that led assistant professor of ceramics Gerardo Monterrubio to develop his passion—it was his students. Nor was it an art form he’s loved since day one.

“[Ceramics] grew into this love/hate relationship,”  Monterrubio said. “Once I developed an ability to control the medium, then I got really into it…now that I can control clay, it’s great— it’s a love relationship.”

Monterrubio has been a ceramics professor for three years at Long Beach City College, teaching students during the summer.

“I found out I was so compassionate about [ceramics] because of the students…[hating ceramics] happens to every beginning student, I see that every semester because when you put ceramics in a video you see people making beautiful things and how everything happens so naturally, fluently and beautifully, and it’s the opposite when you are learning, because clay does not always do what you want it to do and that could be frustrating,” Monterrrubio said.

His students admire and respect him for allowing them creative freedom and how they come first.

He sometimes walks around and tells you the things you need to hear… focuses more time on what people need.”

— Joshua Dove, art major

“He’s really open for ideas and creative freedom; tell him you are interested in things and he supplies them to you,” said art major Vivadia Delfs, one of Monterrubio’s students.

Delfs detailed a story about how she had told Monterrubio that she wanted to create a piece using materials that she did not have, which then he provided for her, letting her express the art that she wanted to create.

Monterrubio started with ceramics out of natural curiosity, but not being able to control clay was a challenge for him since he was used to being able to control his environment. However, he stuck with the art form and was able to control it the way he wanted to. He also expressed how being involved with ceramics allowed him to manage his time more accurately, for it requires a lot of his attention in order to make his pieces feel real, as well as patience to create his pieces without them breaking apart.

“Creativity requires a lot of pondering, and a lot of conversations that happen between you and the work,” Monterrubio said. “Art is this big word that I think has many definitions and that’s what I like about it, the fact that art can be such a vast field.”

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