by Kristin Arzt
For the past twenty years, Rosa Dorantes has been dedicated to sharing her knowledge of ceramics. An Oakland-native who found The Crucible just over one year ago, Rosa has transformed our Ceramics Department into a sanctuary that keeps students coming back. In the year since she has taken over as Department Head, multiple students have taken Ceramics I with Rosa three times in a row.
Rosa’s mother immigrated from Nicaragua and her father from Mexico—but Oakland is home for Rosa and her family. Her parents met on the streets of San Francisco. Her mother was lost, and her dad had directions. The rest was history.
“I was born in Oakland, and Oakland is where I first fell in love with ceramics when I was 14,” Rosa told us. “For me, coming to The Crucible is my journey really coming full circle. Now, I get to share my passion for ceramics with my community, while being immersed in the greater arts community at The Crucible.”
How did you get into ceramics?
My favorite middle school art teacher introduced me to ceramics, and I fell in love with it immediately. I started with hand building and slip casting, like we have in our Ceramics Department here. After graduating, I took some ceramics classes at my local community college, and I said to myself, ‘This is what I really want to do.’ It all clicked.
How did you find The Crucible?
Since my early college days, I remember hearing about The Crucible. My teachers would tell me about the facilities here and how wonderful the community is. I remember seeing it from BART on my way into San Francisco. But, one day, it became much more visible to me. Not only in the sense of reputation, but also visibility.
We painted our sign red!
Yes! I remember noticing that! It felt like a sign, pulling me in. So, I started volunteering. The community immediately blew me away. Everyone is so enthusiastic about what they know, and excited to share that knowledge. I applied to teach here, and now I am the Ceramics Department Head.