Students crafted sculptural pieces and unleashed their artistic visions from the comfort of their homes this summer.

Io Palmer, associate professor in Fine Arts at Washington State University, created and taught the online course for WSU Global Campus. It was made possible through the use of air-drying clay, eliminating the need for a specialized kiln for firing ceramics. As a result, students could learn the skills required for making ceramics through creating and painting their own unique works of art at home.

Io Palmer
Io Palmer (Courtesy WSU College of Arts and Sciences)

“As a department, we are trained to be resourceful and creative in our thinking,” says Palmer. “Creating new and innovative courses like this is really a test for us as creative academics.”

Palmer says she got the idea to develop the online ceramics course from observing the popularity of ceramic tutorial videos on platforms like YouTube.

“There is definitely a demand to learn skills like this from home, and I wanted to be able to provide a quality learning experience for online WSU students in Washington state and around the world,” she says.

Palmer also says that her passion for elevating underrepresented voices drove her to develop the course.

“In observing the online tutorial videos involving ceramics and 3D art, I saw a lot of room for more diverse and underrepresented voices. It made me want to add my own voice to the conversation, especially from my perspective as a woman of color,” she says. “I also want to be an example to my students, encouraging them to fully embrace and express their own unique backgrounds and perspectives.”