During the majority of my high school career I avoided art classes like the plague. I was convinced that I was “bad at art” and that if I took a class where creativity was the central theme, I would fail. In middle school and elementary school I liked art class, but constantly felt inferior to other students who were naturally better at drawing or painting. I had this idea drilled into my head that I was giving up on art. So when high school course selection rolled around, there was no way I was putting any art class down, even as an alternate.
My senior year was when things changed. Through a process of altering my schedule to fit my AP courses I had one open block: Green 2. In talking to the counselor it was clear that I was going to fill that block with Drawing. I hadn’t even taken Art 1, the prerequisite for Drawing, and I hadn’t attempted to draw since seventh grade. How was I supposed to last a whole semester?
During my first day in Drawing, I was very relieved to find out that I had some friends in my class. That was a relief until I realized that both of them were very talented and that both of them had already taken the class before. I thought about how this new art class was going to be like they had always been: filled with feelings of inferiority and self consciousness.
The class was very laid back and the workload was light, but my insecurities kept me from trying too hard. I feared how my friends would view me after holding my work to their standards. I started trying harder in the class as I entered the second quarter but still was not feeling fulfilment from drawing, something that I could tell some my peers felt.
I always noticed the ceramic wheel in the opposite corner of the classroom and had always admired pottery art. Gaining more and more comfort with my creative side but still not enjoying drawing, I thought about the possibility of getting to try creating with clay. I asked my teacher about it, and he showed me and my friend a demo of how to use the wheel.
It was definitely not easy. Centering the clay and shaping it into what you want it to be is not something as simple as it always appeared in movies like Ghost. However, I had a determination to master one art skill before leaving high school.
My time in drawing came to an end, but I had an empty Green 2 block for second semester. I now use that block to be a teacher’s aid for the second semester drawing class as well as having a class period to work on the pottery wheel.
The thing I love the most about ceramics is that nobody is naturally good at it. Being able to understand the movements needed to center and open a piece of clay is purely gained from experience. I have learned so much about myself through ceramics, and I am excited to learn more. At the wheel, there is so much time to think and reflect. One is able to create hands-on using only their own movement and pressure. I love that I am in complete control.
After a session of throwing on the wheel I feel relaxed and refreshed. I gain so much joy from ceramics. I have found a way to express myself through art that has helped me develop as a person.
That was something I never thought was possible even at the beginning of this school year. Was it easy? No, it wasn’t. There were a lot of days of frustration and failure. However, all of those mistakes took me one step closer to my current skill level. All of those bad days helped to pave the way for me to have good ones filled with successful pieces. I am excited to continue to grow and learn.
I hated art less than six months ago. I was convinced I had no skill and would never succeed. However, through the process of being open to new possibilities was I able to find something I am truly passionate about.