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.