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Mixing it up at Cuesta College's clay stomp

Ritchie Bermudez
Participants in the 2018 Clay Stomp at Cuesta Community College near San Luis Obispo.

It's harvest time on the Central Coast, and grapes aren't the only thing being crushed.

[sound of people stomping and laughing]

“What we're doing right now, what you're hearing right now, is a bunch of students and community members stomping and mixing 6,000 pounds of clay with their feet,” said Jarred Pfeiffer, a ceramics instructor at San Luis Obispo’s Cuesta College.

Wednesday was the 5th Clay Stomp, when the clay is spread out on a big tarp and participants jump up and down on it to mix in water. The clay came from Laguna Clay Company in Laguna, California, and to get it to the Cuesta campus to supply the ceramics program for the upcoming year, it’s cheaper to ship dry.

“It saves Cuesta about $500-700 dollars, because we're not paying for that water weight,” Pfeiffer said.

Besides for practical reasons, Pfeiffer said he organizes the Clay Stomp to build community, among the students and the general public.

“Cuesta is such a staple here in San Luis Obispo, and we want to really connect and get homeschoolers, high schoolers...really anyone here and show them some of the amazing things that we do at Cuesta,” Pfeiffer said.

Some of the clay mixed during the event is going into a mural, to be fired and later displayed on the campus. The rest will be stored in 25 pound bags and used throughout the semester in ceramic classes at the community college.

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