Saturday, December 31, 2011

Personal Statement

 I began volunteering with an exchange student organization, AFS, during my freshman year of high school. I enjoy sharing methods with foreign students to see other cultures in ways that increase tolerance. Through AFS, I have learned that effective communication is the beginning of a solution to any problem. Art can be a means for improving cultural understanding, as seen in the current globalized status of contemporary art. I am interested in exploring the limit of what can be communicated cross-culturally and cross-linguistically through art as a communicative method.

During high school I studied abroad for a year in Japan. Every weekday, I practiced calligraphy after school. As a result of all of my classes being taught in Japanese, the act of practicing calligraphy appealed to me. I ended up learning a language deeper than text from the elegance of each brushstroke. The realization that this other language exists gives rise to my pursuit of fluency in art.

In 2007, I was awarded a Youth Ambassador Scholarship and lived with a host family for one summer in Egypt. My Egyptian family shared their culture with me through art in religious centers and museums. My host family was very creative in finding ways to break through linguistic and cultural barriers in order to tell me about themselves. In this context there is no better communicator than art.

Over the past five years, I have developed an interest in ceramic traditions which was nourished by a residency in Fuping, China, where I learned about Sansai glazes. I also spent time in Jingdezhen, China, where I studied the origin of porcelain.

I still have strong ties in Japan and have been back to teach English and Japanese. Through connections made while teaching, I was able to apprentice under a humble potter in the mountains of Saitama, Japan. There I learned about traditional wood-firing techniques, which remain steadfast to tradition at all cost.

In 2011, I received a fellowship from NCECA which I used to attend a wood/salt kiln building residency in Watershed, Maine and a residency in Shigaraki, Japan. At Shigaraki I realized that participating in the international art community is a great way to learn and spread understanding. Through connections at Shigaraki, I have been invited to participate in the 12th Symposium of Large-Scale Ceramics in Estonia.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Shigaraki Baby

I made a baby while in Shigaraki! This was a very fun new body of work. My genetics are craving offspring, but I know it is not the right time in my life to reproduce. That's why I made several clay babies! This is one of the four babies that I made in Shigaraki. Something about capturing the proportions of the cute little noses really pleased me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daily Post 12-21

After returning from Japan, I started to paint portraits. Here is my first portrait. All of the calligraphy practice in Japan taught me the elegant language hidden in each calligraphic the stroke. I ended up learning two languages while in Japan; I learned Japanese, and the intuitive language of the elegance of curves. The elegance of calligraphy has always influenced my work. After doing a study abroad I became more aware of myself as myself and a portrait felt like a good way to begin to understand the new emerging me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daily Image-12/20

This is an old picture I found of my first ever exhibition from my study abroad in 2005. After practicing shodo everyday after school as an exchange student I managed to pull a piece together for the school festival. Mine is the one in red. Also, you'll notice a little red box is a voting box. I had the most votes for best calligraphy, even though mine was obviously the worst. To the common eye, my shiny red paper was enough.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I have been known to overwork my pieces. We have all been down the road of overworking something in our life. Sometimes we overwork our machinery, our cars, our bodies, and artists often overwork artwork.

Clay too, can be overworked. When I overwork my clay the disinigration process usually starts with something small and seemingly fixable. Perhaps the tip of something will snap off or I will see a small fracture in a flat area. Small fractures soon turn into deep fissures and the more I try to fix a piece the more it falls apart. Sometimes it is fixable, but often times this is just the pieces way of saying goodbye.

This is where most people give up and drop their piece into the slop bucket. I never give up on a piece. In the words of Chad Steve, a graduate student in ceramics at University of Hawaii, "A piece doesn't give up on you, you give up on it."

I know that I am entering the stage of overworking a piece when my hands become more and more frantic, my breaths become shorter and faster and my thoughts about the final outcome of the piece seem to have set their foundations on quicksand. When this happens, I step back, take a deep breath and grab some food. Eating in front of a piece is the best way for me to calm down and think about how to fix the overworked piece. Then I sit back down and continue to overwork my piece. The secret to fixing an overworked piece is to re-overwork the piece, of over-overwork the piece.

Here are some pictures of pieces that had been overworked and after realizing that they were overworked, I stepped back, and relaxed and then continued to over-overwork the piece.

 1st stopping point- This is a nice piece, but it still doesn't feel finished at this point.
 2nd stopping point- The surface decoration is clearly overworked.

 3rd stopping point- Overcoming the overworked piece by over-overworking the piece.

To further my point, I will end with a quote from one of the toughest professional cyclist around, Jens Voigt.  When asked what he does to deal with pain in his legs while cycling, he replied that he says "Shut up legs". Cycling and ceramics are two different things, but I beleive that we can over-overwork our pieces a little more often than we do. So, before you drop that piece into the slop bucket, try saying "Shut up piece!"