Ceramics inspire creativity and businesses for NU students


Photo courtesy of Ronit Kitei

One of Kitei’s pottery pieces from her ceramic show with Project FILO. Kitei is one of many NU students who create ceramics in their free time.

Sanjana Rajesh, Reporter


This past summer, Weinberg sophomore Jane Clarke started crafting pottery at the Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. Today, she continues to engage with pottery on campus at ARTica Studios. 

Clarke is one of many students who create ceramics in their free time, some even launching businesses from the activity. She said she appreciates the positive culture of the classes, the people at ARTica Studios and the tangibility of pottery. 

“Being able to make something with your hands — it’s so therapeutic,” Clarke said. 

Weinberg senior Ronit Kitei said she enjoys pushing clay, which she said is very flexible, to its limits. 

Kitei began her ceramics journey in eighth grade and continued in high school. When applying to Northwestern, she said she was told a ceramics program existed, but she later found out that wasn’t the case. 

“(It was) super not ideal,” Kitei said. “I ended up finding classes at the Evanston Art Center and have been doing classes or coming in during the studio hours since my freshman year.”

Today, Kitei said she likes to mix throwing and handbuilding techniques to make pieces that are both structural and functional. 

Weinberg sophomore Lev Rosenberg got his start in ceramics because of his father, who is also a potter, and he makes pottery at ARTica Studios. He said he is most interested in the dual nature of ceramic pieces, in that they can have purposes around the house but also still be visual art.

“I like making things that are leaning toward the sculptural but still functional, like a teapot that’s a doughnut,” Rosenberg said.  

ARTica has pottery classes that are open to NU students and the public, as well as a membership option for people to use the studio to create independent projects.

While Rosenberg enjoys making ceramics at ARTica, he said there are barriers to getting involved. An NU student membership costs $155 for fall 2021.

“Not only is it expensive, but I can’t bring other people in and teach them to throw,” Rosenberg said. “If someone would want to get into it but doesn’t have the resources, that’s definitely limiting.” 

He added, however, that the expense may not be ARTica’s fault, as he said he doubts it gets “real funding.” To help him cover the costs of pottery, Rosenberg has started a business through his art account on Instagram, @lev.artstuff. He works on a commission basis, meaning he makes pieces on request.  

Kitei also started a pottery business named RLK Ceramics. She’s taken commissions and sold her art through Project FILO, an artist incubator that started at Northwestern. Both Kitei and Rosenberg said their businesses began organically: as friends became aware of their art, they started requesting mugs, bowls, ashtrays and more.

“Ultimately, I hope that I can just give people pieces that will bring them joy, and that will make them happy,” Kitei said. 

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