Editor's Note: Studio Potter gave free access to the online journal to 387 educational institutions to support their unexpected transition to remote learning. We invited educators, writing, "...give your students a writing assignment – Create an article for Studio Potter. You screen the submissions and send your top three to Jill Foote-Hutton at ... for consideration. Selected student authors will be published on STUDIOPOTTER.ORG and will receive a one year membership to Studio Potter." ALEX KRAFT, associate professor at the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega presented us with a trio of essays. The first one is by Whitney Melius.
The first lesson of the first class did not disappoint.
I had no inherent skill, but I had that first experience of what it felt like, and it inspired me. I was stretching my mind and learning something I knew nothing about. It felt exciting and restorative. I, metaphorically, woke up in the ceramic studio, and invested every moment I could steal away from the duties of being a wife and mother to three school-aged children. That stealing of myself from those around me, who depend on me, had always felt selfish – until my ceramics class. My time spent in the studio was undeniably the healthiest thing I had done for my mind and body in some time. I carried no guilt.
When tasked with writing a comparative paper instead of completing our final project in clay, due to the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the subsequent closure of our studio classes, I was so disappointed. However, I knew I could use the opportunity to explore this feeling of deep satisfaction with the process of clay and art in general. In comparing three articles, from the Studio Potter subscription, from differing time frames, I’ve come to understand a connection to art and ceramics that is more than skill building. I know the reason why my brain has been so happy to have my hands in clay....