Victoria College art students get new kiln yard

With fire-resistant jackets and helmets with face shields, the students in Debra Chronister's ceramics class at Victoria College suited up in the new kiln yard outside their classroom to create some art.

The yard was added as part of the renovations done to the Fine Arts building at the college and has given the students more room to safely create.

"Every time I walk out, I am just so grateful," Chronister said about the new space.

Before the renovations, students in the class had to haul their work outside in the rain, wind and other Texas elements to fire ceramics pieces. They also had nowhere to recycle clay, throw large pieces or work with plaster.

The enclosed area outside the ceramics classroom has gates, which offer the opportunity for ventilation. The area adds between 1,200 and 1,500 extra square feet of work space for the students.

Holding tongs with thick gloves, the artists carefully pulled a glowing hot form from the more than 2,200-degree kiln before adding to the heat by lighting it on fire in a trash can.

The geometric ceramic form, created by Mary Ann Perez, is one of many pieces of artwork that will be on display at the college in the Spring Student Art Exhibit, which opens April 10.

"It's just been stupendous," Chronister said about the physical space added to aid the work of her student artists.