Ceramics, firing up inspiration with the instructor Rocky Lewycky

Alena Naiden

Photo Credit: Photo by Alena Naiden
Ceramics intructor Rocky Lewycky shows student Pak Vangabon, 52, human sexuality major, how to prepare containers for hot sculptures in the sculpture lab at De Anza College on Wednesday, May 27.
Photo Credit: Photo by Alena Naiden
Ceramics teacher Lewycky teaches his ceramics class how form can evoke movement in design in the scuplture lab at De Anza College on Wednesday, May 27.

Khaki apron dusted with clay and eyes vivid and wide, sure hand gestures look for the right form even while their owner is speaking. This is Rocky Lewycky, ceramics teacher and head of ceramics department at De Anza College.

Lewycky said he realized he was a sculptor when he took his first ceramics class in 1995 at Diablo Valley College. Lewycky wasn’t sure about his major before that and only tried to fulfill his GE requirements.

“I knew within the first week [of ceramics] that I was home,” he said. “This is it, I am where I was supposed to be. And I never stopped.”

Becoming a teacher was a different story.

Photo Credit: Photo by Alena Naiden
Margaret Nelson, 23, ceramics major, works out fine details on her sculpture.

Lewycky said that at first, he taught ceramics part-time and as a “trade for his art.” However, with time he said he started getting more excited about it.

“I love teaching, it became my art,” he said.

School work and his 11-month old son take most of the time Lewycky has now, filling his day from 4 a.m. until late night.
In summer Lewycky plans to go back to art.

Photo Credit: Photo by Alena Naiden
Advanced ceramics students fire their sculptures using the Raku method.

“I still get high making artwork,” he confessed.

In his art, Lewycky said he tries not only to highlight form, but also to send a message.

The boundaries of people’s social awareness are something Lewycky said he wants to influence through his art, making a conceptual statement through the form.

“I work visually, to try to create the whole-body experience.”

Some of the social underpinning Lewycky is concerned about are the treatment of animals for food and segregation through class.

His exhibition “Is It Necessary?” and on-going project “The New US project” are correlated with his views on these problems.

“It’s not my job to change people; my responsibility as an artist is to open up questions and illuminate information.”

Photo Credit: Photo by Alena Naiden
Rocky Lewycky demonstrates to students how to use the wheel to make cylinders.