The classes have taken on a product-design project for Assembly New York, a designer destination retail shop.
It all started when Greg Armas, the founder and owner of the company contacted Ames with a request for an innovative student design.
Armas, who previously resided in Orange County, worked at an art gallery that Ames used to visit frequently. "We both were into similar types of art, so we stayed in touch after he moved to New York and started that business," she said.
The company is to "launch a custom bottled fragrance that required a small plaster sphere to house it." It is up to the ceramics students to create the specific design of the sphere.
"I have opportunity now to recognize this heritage [as a Southern California art student] in a collaborative project and I would love the help of CMHS," said Armas in his request. His company has covered all expenses associated with the project, in addition to a donation to the Art Department.
The two agreed to involve the ceramics students as a way to give back.
The class has since gone through many phases of design for the packaging. After several days of trial and error, it was decided that each student would specialize in one element of the design rather than every student creating all the necessary parts. For example, freshman Tori Albers specializes in carving, while Amber King makes the spheres, and Francisco Ruiz makes boxes.
"It's a team effort," they agreed.
The classes worked on the design for several weeks until the beginning class took a break, returning to regular curriculum, while the advanced students finalized the design. They are currently in the process of sending out several prototypes, which will then be further modified depending on the client's feedback.
The students working on the project show wide diversity. Every ceramics class is participating, from beginning to advanced. AP students as well as English learners from all grade levels work together to create the product.
The product is expected to be out sometime next year.
"We'll see how it plays out and how many revisions need to be made," said Mrs. Ames. "Maybe Valentine's Day."
The project has taken place of some typical ceramics class projects, but this one teaches something that others cannot.
"Being creative doesn't always necessarily mean creating something in a one of a kind fashion...fine tuning and high level craftsmanship can then be shown [in business]" said Mrs. Ames. "I was really excited to give that real world experience to the students."