Ceramics professor finds magic in clay

Jeremey FinemanFrom the mountains of Greenville, North Carolina, to the plains of Oklahoma, ceramics Professor Jeremy Fineman has brought a love of art — especially pottery or ceramics.

“With ceramics, you’re always learning something new,” he said. “I don’t think I will ever know everything about it. That’s what makes it so magical.”

Fineman moved to Oklahoma in January for a full-time position in the OCCC Arts Department. Fineman teaches Ceramics I and II, Mosaics I and II, and Drawing I.

“It’s great, a very warm community,” he said. “It’s an umbrella of faculty that cares and students that are motivated.”

Fineman completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. He earned his master’s degree at East Carolina University in North Carolina.

He said he studied photography for his undergraduate program but became interested in ceramics his junior year. He said he took as many ceramics classes as he could and became fascinated by it.

“I got addicted to the medium, the malleable material,” he said. “You can make anything that you want. Anything that’s in your head you can put into a three-dimensional surface. The texture, everything about the medium is really neat.”

Exercising, biking, motorcycling, cooking, hiking, and swimming in OCCC’s pool are some of the things Fineman enjoys, aside from creating art out of clay.

He specializes in dinnerware. Many of his plates, bowls and pitchers feature pastel blues and goldenrod with dark accents on the rims and feet.

“They’re all functional pots with the emphasis on funk,” Fineman said of his pieces which can take up to 40 hours each.

He said he also enjoys photographing his own work which he displays on his website bullfrogceramics.com.

Ceramics I student Joleasa Mora said Fineman is a good teacher.

“He’s easy to work with and very knowledgeable of everything,” she said.

“He’s there to help and easy to follow and understand.

“I enjoy the hands-on work using the clay and all the tools,” Mora said. “It feels like therapy to me and relieves stress. Time flies when you’re having fun.”

Fineman said his goals at OCCC are to have a larger enrollment for the classes and to bring more attention to art. He wants his students to gain confidence in the medium but, most importantly, to have fun and enjoy the process, he said.

“Without the challenges and frustration of ceramics, it is not very gratifying in the end. You have to get through the challenges and frustration and it becomes something magical.”

To contact Christy Montenegro, email onlineeditor@occc.edu

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