Bland benches turn beautiful


Macy Sanchez

Tanner Valus, sophomore, and Akshara Taikella, senior, carefully etch out their designs on the clay tiles.

Macy Sanchez, News Editor

Throughout the years, the ceramics classes have been responsible for making wonderful works of art. From ceramic pallets, working fountains, mobile animals, and countless other jaw-dropping projects, they never let us down. This year, they are taking on a relatively new project: the ceramic bench project.

Across the OHS campus there are benches alongside each building. Although they serve their purpose, the benches are plain and unattractive. This year, all Ceramics 1-2 classes are creating beautiful tiles to decorate the benches. Responsible for the cultivation of the ceramic benches project are Jeff Davenport and Kent Younger. Both OHS teachers instruct Ceramics 1-2 classes, along with various other fine arts classes.

“The bench project is a project where we have benches on our campus that have simply been concrete for the last few years. So, we are going to start adding tiles to them to make them beautiful and add to the school climate and culture,” Younger said. “We want to make it welcoming for our students to sit on and be attracted to. Our 1-2 students will be designing tiles to go onto the bench. And right now, since the benches we are working on are outside the fine arts departments, we are doing fine arts tiles.”

The students are required to create four tiles each. One of which needs to encompass aspects of the ceramics class. The remaining two tiles should illustrate OHS dance, theatre, fine arts, piano, band, or choir. Akshara Tanikella, senior, takes Ceramics 1-2 and is in the midst of creating her tiles.

“There’s three different types you have to do: an additive/subtractive tile, which means you put clay on top of it. Then you do sgraffito, which is where you scratch out to see the design, and then you do this color glazing thing, where you just paint the color and design onto it,” Tanikella said.

These tiles give the students an opportunity to learn and be creative, all while expressing their support for OHS’s arts programs.

“I think it’s cool because all of the tiles are different. Of my three tiles, my favorite is the theatre one. It has the happy and sad theatre faces on it, and curtains in the background. It is also my sgraffito tile,” Tanikella said.

This is not the first time OHS has decorated a bench. A few years ago, a bench outside the office was decorated with tiles from seniors. Along with Tanikella, Tyler Darr, sophomore, is in the process of creating his ceramic tiles.

“I’ve seen the one bench that they have already covered with tiles. This one’s a little different but it has the same idea. It gives the school more life and brings out the colors. I think it’s a good idea,” Darr said.

While all Ceramics 1-2 students get the opportunity to make tiles, only a select few will be displayed on the bench. Teachers from each art class will select a handful of their favorites, and whichever tiles are picked will go on the bench.

“I am hoping at least one of my tiles will get picked. It would be cool to have my artwork out in the open where everyone can see it,” Darr said.

As far as this year goes, one bench, the arts bench, will be completed. After the teachers select their favorite tiles, the maintenance team will work to apply them to the bench.

“The goal is to have one bench done this year, and each year try to do another bench until all of the benches are complete. As we move out through campus for the next few years, we’ll match the bench with the academic area. And so, we’ll support all areas in building beautiful tiles for all of our benches here at OHS,” Younger said.