GREENVILLE — Nathan Bower was so involved with high school art projects he forgot he had another due just two days later.
Known by his teacher as someone who “flies by the seat of his pants,” Bower, a senior at Greenville High School, wasn’t too worried.
“I just needed to get another project in the books,” he said.
With just two, one-hour art classes (he ended up needing a third hour) left before it was due, he got to work.
What came of his last-minute artwork was not only a grade on the books, but a national recognition in scholastic art, the first under 11-year art teacher Sonja Peterson.
What was it he made?
Simple enough, it was a stack of ceramic pancakes.
Made through a process of heating and cooling, Bower’s stack of ceramic pancakes sat on a glass plate, with colored glass melted over the top to appear like syrup. A square of “butter” was added to the top to pull it all together.
But it wasn’t necessarily what it was that earned him a gold key award at regionals and now a silver award at the national level, it was how it turned out.
“I didn’t think the color would turn out like this. I thought it would be more orange,” said Bower, whose project’s colors turned out a perfect syrup brown and so realistic looking staff at the school thought they were real pancakes at times. “But it turned out how I wanted it to be.”
Peterson too was surprised by the color and appearance once the glass cooled.
“The way the glass melted and the glaze looks, everything just came together,” she said. “The stars aligned and it looked perfect.”
Apparently judges thought the same thing.
At a regional art competition, Bower received the gold key award and then later found out he had earned silver in the National Scholastic Art and Writing competition, something he didn’t even know existed.
“I just found out last week. I didn’t even know (my piece) was in nationals, I thought it ended at regionals,” he said with a chuckle.
He found out from someone at school because he ignored his notification by mail.
“I got some information in the mail, but I thought it was more regional stuff, so I didn’t look at it,” he said.
But he would be lying if he said he wasn’t happy with the recognition.
“I was pretty excited,” said Bower, who is considering making the trip to New York City’s Carnegie Hall, where the awards are given. “I was more shocked than anything.
Bower wasn’t the only Greenville High School artist to get recognized at the regional competition. Rachel Nanzer, Zach Melching, Kristyn Hendricks, Rylee Korsky and Monica Vine also were honored.