In-Depth truly started off with a bang! I’ve already learned so much pottery… and it’s only been about 2 weeks?

My first attempt at Pottery!

During my first official session with my mentor, we got started right away. Within five minutes we were ready to begin and he gave me his first demonstration on how to make the foundation for any kind of pottery. After one demonstration, it was my turn to try. I must admit that my first attempt was very unappealing and messy, but with the help of my mentor and my persistence it slowly but surely improved. My mentor had me practice raising and lowering the clay to make sure that I could make it with ease and also so that I could learn to keep the clay steady. If I couldn’t succeed this step, it would only make my life more difficult when trying make more complex works of pottery. Although my first session wasn’t very eventful or creative, it was still definitely valuable for I was able to learn the basics of manipulating the clay. After this first session, I am now able to keep the clay steady and strong, so that in the next session we could get started with some bowls.

A closer look at the “foundation” for pottery.

By the time I went for the second time, I “graduated” from making the foundation and I started making some actual bowls! Our session began with a short review of what I learned last week and then once again, my mentor gave me a single demonstration on how to make a bowl. One thing I really like about his demonstrations is that because he only shows me once, it keeps me on my toes and also it allows me to find my own path. It makes complete sense to teach in this manner for pottery, because there are only a few essential rules that I must abide by; then the rest is up to me. Throughout this session I had many bowls collapse on me, and more turned out to be completely different from what I imagined, but it was still incredibly exciting and fun to be able to manipulate the clay to actually make a tangible object! As they say, practice makes perfect, so it looks like I will be making bowls for another week or two, to get it just right!

Session #2!
Session #2!

Now to reflect upon Edward de Bono’s How to have a Beautiful mind in correlation to my In-Depth.

It is going to be quite difficult to reflect on my conversations with my mentor, because first of all I have yet to overcome my communication barrier as mentioned in my first post, but I am making some progress and I’m sure my Korean considerably improve after 5 months. Also, when demonstrating new concepts or techniques, my mentor rarely explains with words and he prefers to show me in person.

Regarding Chapter 1 and 2: how to agree and how to disagree, at this point, I agree with almost everything my mentor says and I rarely disagree, because I don’t have enough knowledge regarding pottery to solidify my own opinions yet. Compared to my mentor who has pursued pottery for almost all his life, studied it university, and taught a great number of students, I find it hard to disagree when I see his methods are working for me and for the other students in my vicinity. Also when my mentor teaches, as I stated above, he teaches in an open-ended manner while only highlighting the most essential rules. By doing so, he gives little room for me to disagree because I am given the freedom to try my own ideas on a regular basis. Regarding Chapter 3, how to differ, once again, my mentor and I do not have many differences in opinion at this stage of the project; however, one difference in opinion that I can see arising in the future is a difference in culture. My mentor is a very traditional person who makes only Korean pottery and potentially further along in the project due to some of my Western influences, I may wish to incorporate some western elements into my pottery. I believe that both differences are equally important and I can’t see this hindering my project in any way, for I feel that my mentor would also support this difference. Nonetheless I believe that this difference will not arise until I am able to make fully functioning pottery on my own without a lot of guidance from my mentor so it is not something to worry about at this time.

These first two sessions with my mentor were really inspiring and fun, and I would consider this a great start to my in-depth! I really look forward to the next time I meet my mentor and hopefully I will have some new works of pottery to show in my next post!