Straight Outta Clay: Senior Rocha completes year-plus of ceramics projects in single semester



Senior Patrick Rocha is a ceramics work horse.

Rocha has been working around the clock to accomplish a feat that not seen before in the fine arts program.

With Dean of Fine Arts Mike Nebel as his guide and mentor, Rocha has created 10 different ceramics pieces in just one semester. 10 pieces, with respect to the overall timeline of the course, is 1.5 years worth of work. Nebel said that he was impressed by the determination and relentlessness that Rocha has had when it comes to his work ethic this semester.

How many hours after school do you spend a week working on your pieces? I would stay at the very least 45 minutes every day, some days I would stay until 6:30 or 7 o’clock, so about 5-10 hours a week.

What is the shortest and longest amount of time a piece has taken you? The shortest amount of time was three days and the longest that a project took me was three weeks.

How many pieces have you done? I have completed 10 pieces. A semester of ceramics is four pieces, so if you do the math, I did a year and a half of work in one semester. I am the only student so far in STH history to complete a ceramics portfolio.

Why did you select the work you submitted for your Art Portfolio? I feel that those pieces best exhibit my capabilities. The pieces selected are my particular favorites as well as crowd favorites. I received many compliments and positive feedback from fellow students and teachers that liked the pieces. The pieces selected show variety through the colors and shapes overall designs.

How do you hope people will react when they view your work? I hope people will see my work and appreciate the simplicity, elegance and adroitness held in the pieces. I do not believe my pieces to possess the “wow” factor, but I do hope people can see my work and think that it is pleasing to the eye and subtle

What role does art play in your life? I have never considered myself to be artistic, but, art has been an escape or break from the monotonous patterns of day to day life. I began taking piano lessons when I was in the third grade and I loved it. I could not wait to go to lessons; from lessons I could not wait to get home and practice what I just learned. I would sit at the piano for a few hours trying to perfect the music that I was learning until my parents had to pull me off the piano to do homework or go to practice for whatever sport was in season. As I got to high school, I was not able to take piano lessons anymore due to scheduling conflicts so as a freshman and sophomore I did not have an escape, and it was frustrating until my junior year when I found ceramics.

At first, my pieces were not the hottest but towards the end of my first semester taking ceramics the progression was noticeable. As a senior in Ceramics II, my teacher mentioned competitions that students had participated in and he mentioned a portfolio. I asked him later what it took to make a portfolio and when he said it is 8 pieces and a lot of extra work, I knew was determined to get it done and I was not going to give myself the option of coming up short. I used my escape to achieve something that has never been done at my school. I could not wait to go to ceramics and could not wait until the end of school, not to go home but to go to ceramics and put in the work that I chose to do. After hours in the ceramics room and many questions that could only be answered by Mr. Nebel, who was extremely patient with me, all of the work paid off. I still do not know if I could consider myself and artist but I love ceramics and I love to watch my pieces grow from being a lump of clay to a creation from my own hands. Art is a great distinction from the normal pack that I truly enjoy.


Joshua is captain of the St. Thomas Rugby Team. He is on St. Thomas Club, participates in the Choices Club, FCA, is a Senior Leader, and President of the Student Council Spirit Committee.