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Fine Arts Student of the Week: Senior throws clay like a pro

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Brainerd High School senior Kendal Rausch holds the clay steady on a pottery wheel to work on her next project. Rausch was named this week's Fine Arts Student of the Week. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 3
Brainerd High School senior Kendal Rausch throws clay on a pottery wheel to work on her next project. Rausch was named this week's Fine Arts Student of the Week. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch3 / 3

Adviser nomination: "Kendal is an impressive pottery student and a great choice for Fine Art Student of the Week. Kendal is a very methodical potter who impressively at her age has worked at being a production potter. Throwing is a term for making pottery on the wheel and Kendal is exceptional at making matching sets of bowls, cups and recently threw a 6-place setting of plates. She has an eye for detail, is hardworking and goes above and beyond what a typical pottery student is expected to do. Kendal has become a huge asset to the studio, as she sees what needs to be done and does it without being asked. She often unloads kilns, helps mix glazes and pugs clay. We in the visual art department congratulate you as our Fine Art Student of the week. Keep up the great work Kendal."

Memorable fine arts achievement: "My artist book show in 2018 at The Crossing Arts Alliance. I displayed my three artists books."

Artist most admired: Lea Anderson, BHS art teacher.

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Kendal Rausch

  • Grade: Senior.
  • Age: 17.
  • Art focus: Brainerd High School pottery.

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Other fine arts activities: Painting, artist books and introduction to arts. The senior also helped with writing instructions for book structures for art class and took advanced art portfolio lessons.

Pottery background: "I took Pottery 1 when I was in 10th grade and last year I didn't take a pottery class, so for my senior year I wanted to take it for sure. I didn't like Pottery 1 because it is a lot of hand-building with the class and we didn't get to the wheel until the end. Being in Pottery 2, I have found being on the wheel is where I am most comfortable and most productive. I really like how everything is so neat and uniform, with hand-building it is all like rough and sculptural. I like how everything off the wheel comes out so smooth and nice and you can make matching sets.

"I've never done any pottery before these classes. ... I always thought it would be really cool to make that stuff and my friends were going to take pottery, so I wanted to take it with my friends. It really had nothing to do with me wanting to do pottery, I just wanted to do it with my friends. My parents say Brainerd has some really nice pottery classes and so I signed up for it."

Learning the wheel: "In 10th grade, when we got to the wheel I struggled so much. I couldn't make anything to save my life. This year, I just fell into a routine and figured out what exactly works for me. I just love being in there all the time.

"I watched a lot of videos off YouTube at home and school on different pottery techniques. ... I learned different ways that Ms. Anderson doesn't teach that worked for me and fit more into my style. (Such as), centering the clay on the wheel. Ms. Anderson holds her hands differently and pushes the clay differently. When (Anderson) centers she puts her hands one on top of each other and locks one on the side and I come from the back. Her hands are a lot bigger than mine, I have really small hands so I have to center in sections. I have to center the top and then the bottom and work my way down."

Piece most proud of: "My large bowl set or plate set I made. The bowls I struggled with for a long time. The big bowl consisted of 4 to 5 pounds of clay and was not easy to center. It took me quite a few times to get it and I got it one time, but it cracked when it got dry. It took a lot of tries, but when they came out they looked so good. I'm happy how they turned out.

"The plates have a different throwing technique. When you make the plates you have to pull the plate out instead of up, so it's different, but I had a good time making them."

Biggest challenge: "It was having that year in between with no pottery. I forgot all the techniques. I had to reteach myself and watch all these videos and ask Ms. Anderson for help and figure it all out again."

Easiest thing: "After I got it figured it all out ... I would sit down and throw a bunch of pieces and it turned out so good. So once I got the centering down, throwing a bunch of pieces is easy for me."

Hours in pottery: "I spend five hours a day. First hour I have Pottery 2 class, second hour I'm just hanging out, doing stuff around the studio like cleaning up, unloading kilns, throwing more pieces. Third hour is Ms. Anderson's prep hour so I help her out with whatever.

"Fourth hour I have a weightlifting class. Lifting weights helps because I have no arm strength, so it helps me a lot with pottery class. Fifth hour I come back to the pottery room while everyone is at lunch.

"I do a few projects a week. I am working on an eight- to 12-piece set.

Is this anything you are interested in pursuing, or just as a hobby? "I'm looking into marketing and business for college, but pottery will always be a hobby. I'd like to in the future get my own pottery wheel so I could do this all the time. I really calm down and clear my mind when I'm on the wheel.

Dream job: "I'd say something to do with traveling. I really want to go see the world, see everything, so maybe being a photographer or doing social media posting on traveling."

Favorite subject: Pottery.

Favorite movie: "The Proposal."

Favorite TV show: "Grey's Anatomy."

Favorite book: "Looking for Alaska."

Favorite song: "Vertigo" by Khalid.

Favorite singer: Jack Johnson.

Favorite restaurant: "Mexican Village. I always get the sizzling chicken fajitas. I used to live in Sauk Rapids and we'd all get different foods and get fried ice cream."

Place you'd love to visit: "I really want to go to Greece. It's at the top of my bucket list."

Hobbies: Camping, hiking, painting and pottery.

Parents: Kim and Ryan Rausch of Baxter.