Battle Discusses Her Plans for Ceramics in Spring Semester


In the upcoming quarter, Battle hopes to introduce the world of professional ceramics to her students and collaborate with photography classes. Photo: Caroline Battle.

In September 2021, Sidwell welcomed Caroline Battle as the new Upper School Ceramics Teacher. Battle is from Montgomery County, Md. and attended the University of Maryland for her undergraduate degree, where she studied printmaking and sculpture. 

Although Battle never studied ceramics in school, art was still a central part of her education. After getting her graduate degree, Battle took a break from art, but her hiatus gave her a new desire to create.

“If you don’t do [art], it just starts to bother you,” Battle explained. “At that time, when I really wanted to get back into creating, I found a ceramics studio near where I lived.” 

Through teaching, Battle spreads her knowledge and passion for art to her students. Recently, her students have been working on coil sculptures and crafting both slab and wheel-thrown mugs. Of the techniques, she said, “It’s all the most basic skills you need in one thing. It’s a form you can always perfect and always make it different.”

Currently, Battle’s students are working on a statement coil sculpture.

Battle appreciates students’ enthusiasm. “It’s very fulfilling and rewarding to see people walk through the door and really want to start working on their project,” she said.

Sharing a discovery that she has made in her new teaching position this year, she explained, “The thing that has surprised me the most is how much I’ve enjoyed it from the start and just how anything that was new and scary to me at the start was just not at all … it’s all been meshing so well.” 

Although Battle is not working on any personal projects at the moment, she looks forward to Spring Break and summer, so she can dedicate time to projects she is interested in trying.

Discussing her plans and goals for the end of the school year, Battle said that her ceramics classes will be watching panel discussions and demonstrations from this year’s National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts Conference, a hybrid event taking place in mid-March. 

“My goal with [the conference] is just to show everybody the broader world of ceramics so we can see what college professors are doing. I think it’s really valuable to hear the words of working artists,” Battle said.

Battle also expressed interest in working with Upper School Photography Teacher Lely Constantinople to expose cyanotypes, a photographic print-type, on three-dimensional ceramic forms. 

When asked what to tell students considering taking ceramics next year, Battle said, “I would really promote it because everybody just finds it fun, because it’s unexpected, and there’s so many different ways of working with the same thing.”