Brandon Allen, a senior at Soroco High School, tried making clay pots in eighth grade.
He would work for hours molding the clay until it was just right, then put it in the kiln to dry, and the pots would explode.
That experience is frustrating and discouraging, he said.
Senior Jaimee Sexton had the same experience. The old kiln "blew up stuff," she said, and left students feeling mad.
Now, South Routt art students are part of an effort to raise money to buy a new kiln.
For the past few months, they have been shaping, firing and painting bowls. The firing is done by a member of the Steamboat Clay Artisans who lives nearby. Each student has made two bowls, art teacher Cindy Wither said. Each bowl is a unique shape, with different patterns and colors.
On Tuesday, the bowls will be filled with ice cream and sold for $5 as part of the all-school art show and music concert. The money raised will go toward the $2,883 kiln.
Donated pieces from the Steamboat Clay Artisans also will be sold through a silent auction.
The old kiln was badly broken and thecost to repair it was as much as the cost of buying a new kiln.
So Wither and the district's grant writer recently submitted a grant to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, which doled out $2,100 toward the cost. The school hopes to make up the rest through the ice cream bowl sale.
Involving the students in raising money for the kiln gives them a sense of ownership, Wither said.
"It isn't just like everything is there," Wither said. "It gives them more of a feeling of value that they did something, too."
The students were happy to take that part.
"I really put some effort into my bowls, knowing it was going into a new kiln helping out the art class," Allen said.
Having an art kiln opens a new door of art to students, Wither said. It provides a good avenue to explore three-dimensional art, as well as to experiment with textures and colors.
"They certainly learn how to structurally build something," she said.
And it provides an important outlet for art students who are more interested in working in three dimensions, Wither said.
Each student used that outlet differently: There is a bowl shaped like a flower and one in the shape of a star. Some use mellow, soothing blues and greens, and others use bright, flashy yellows and oranges.
Cassandra Crawford, a sophomore, made the sides of one of her bowls look like rolling waves. Crawford said she looks forward to art each day because of the chance it offers to learn and think freely.
"It lets everyone express themselves," she said. "In art, you have more freedom."
Sexton, who took five days on one of her bowls, agreed.
"It's fun. You can do anything that you want," she said. "You can create anything."
The ice cream bowl fund-raiser and the all school art show and music concert are Tuesday. The art show features visual art from students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and the music performance features grades seven through 12.
The fund-raiser and art show start at 5:30 p.m., with the concert beginning at 7 p.m. at Soroco High School.