“For the first project in ceramics, Merrill Krabill, our professor, gave us a little lump of clay, which was very open-ended. We’re just making something with it. And then, 5 or 10 minutes later, we pass it on to the next person. He’s talking – about the class, about the space – and we’re just working with our hands. Then, five minutes later, we pass it on and have a new [piece of clay].
It’s cool because I get this brand new piece, and I’m adding to it, and I think, ‘Oh, I like this,’ and then I have to pass it on.
So there’s this big lesson right away. There’s a level of fragility to ceramics, and you have to be able to let some of that go because things break. It’s a long process from wet clay to finished product, and things could go wrong in many places.
That lesson of fragility sticks with you as you go along because things break that you loved! And you’re sad! [laughs]
There was this piece…it was going to be this fun, cookie jar-type container. I was carrying it on a tray, and I was going to open a door, and it fell – along with a bunch of other things – and smashed.
I posted a picture of it on my Instagram, and I was like, ‘It’s disappointing. It’s a good reminder, but it still sucks.’ And one of my high school art teachers told me to keep it and bisque it. A broken vessel is still art.
So I have other plans for it.
I enjoy my major at Goshen College [environmental science] for some of the same reasons I enjoy pottery: I love being outside and working with my hands. So I have these two things I don’t want to let go anytime soon, but there’s just not time for everything.
Broadly, I think Goshen has put a lot of emphasis on social artistic interaction. Growing up here, I was surrounded by artists supported by the community, making it seem like a very admired profession. That made me optimistic. I wanted to stay involved in art.
That social interaction – stimulated by the city and the community – is important to me. I’m not majoring in art, but I have multiple opportunities to sell my work, and again, this makes me feel supported by the community. I don’t think I would feel this anywhere else.
If you were an artist in college and felt like people wanted to buy your amazing artwork, more artists would come out of college wanting to stay involved. Instead, there’s this tragic loss of storytelling and culture in the community. So, as somebody not deep into the art world, feeling supported artistically is super valuable.”