I remembered quite suddenly how much I loved doing raku pieces. There was something that was incredibly satisfying about the utter chaos of the technique, and our methods were more haphazard than most. The forms were glazed with whatever was available, fired in a low-tech kiln, and then placed in a bucket filled with something flammable as they cooled. Every piece was an explosion of color that had only been partially planned.
Of course, I haven’t shared that I was horrible at wheel-thrown forms (I never made it past the "thick bowl" stage of the art), and my hand-built work was mostly uninspired. Still, it was so incredible to work something so tangible with my hands. It grounded me and made me feel like I really did have a connection to things and to the world. It was the one thing that I let myself do without obsessing over the outcome and worrying about being judged. I did it just for the sake of doing it, and the professor seemed not only to recognize that, but actually encouraged it. Can't for the life of me remember his full name, though he's the "Mark" referenced in the title. I remember that he claimed to be a dada-ist (a term I still don't fully understand) and that he had pieces on display at galleries around the city.
Interestingly, of the four years I spent at BC, the year that I took the ceramics course was my most enjoyable. I’ll not credit it wholly with the quality of my experience since this was also the year of my greatest academic experimentation (Revelation in Hindu Scripture being most notable), and the time when I developed most of the friendships that I had in school. It’s notable that it was also the one year that I held myself out of a committed relationship. It was lonely, to be sure, but my college relationships were incredibly stifling.
Ok, now I’m getting tangential. Nothing to see here, folks...