Restoration of the Art Department’s Kiln


Why refurbish a kiln?

  • Allows students to upcycle ceramic and clay waste into bricks or beautiful art.
    • The Art Department produces 50 lbs of used clay per week.
  • Firing art waste physically traps hazardous waste in ceramic/clay.
  • Reduces the quantity of waste sent to the waste processing center.
  • Beautifies campus and businesses that purchase the art.
  • Reduces the cost and energy associated with processing the waste.
    • It costs $2000-$2400 every year to dispose of the waste in the Art Department
  • Bricks can be utilized to allow for an increase in rain water retention.


Student Leaders:

Fall 2015:  Robert Camin, Graysen Guercio & Taylor Pastrano

Ongoing: Tommy Dragna



Tommy Dragna spreading and drying clay.

The project proposal designed by my students was to refurbish the old kiln in the art department. With the newly refurbished kiln, the students of the Art Department can fire their collected ceramic and clay wastes into bricks. The bricks can be used to decorate several large buildings on campus or used as paving stones in other areas that are still being developed. The project intends to eliminate as much art waste as possible. The students’ project was approved and funded for $7,000 by the IRA fund and the Art Department secured another $3000 for the project in the Fall of 2015.

Currently, the kiln has been refurbished and installed. The bricks are being produced and the project is being implemented by Tommy Dragna and Professor Amiko Matsuo in the Art Department. Tommy won the “Best in Show” award at the Sage Conference for making these bricks.



Special thanks to Professor Amiko Matsuo for continuing the effort of making sustainable bricks from waste. Professor Simone Aloisio made these projects possible through his support and wisdom.  Gina Matibag from Academic Affairs and Coleen Barsley from Facilities have been instrumental in providing insight and advice. Provost Dan Wakelee has provided guidance on the project. This project was funded by CI’s Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) fund.