Wednesday, May 7, 2014

the pacific ocean

I resonate most with the ocean. Nature is forever calling us to her, for we were created from the dust of the earth and we are meant to walk upon it. Me? I was born near the ocean, and if anyone were to ask the one object I would describe myself as, it would be the ocean.

It is beautiful on the surface. With ebbs and flows and holdings for many people, it carries many weights and lets the sun shine down on it. Sometimes it tosses those things around for it needs to be alone. Sometimes it gets angry and hurt when people hurt the things inside it, and if a person is lucky, it will open itself up to them and allow them to explore the depths.

And oh, it is terrifying. It is a mystery. With so many thoughts swirling about, there are secrets it won't tell anyone, universes glistening from the light refracting upon it, and scary caves that it hides in darkness.

But it is so vast and expansive that it would take a thousand lifetimes to discover its potential, and if one can only scratch the surface, he will be rewarded for life.

And perhaps all humans are like the ocean, with our secrets and depths and desires to be known. Why do we build up dams against people, or allow them to block our streams? If we can only remember how deep and vast and beautiful each of us are, not only will we pay no heed to those who try to harm us, but we will cease harming others.

The day began in a sleepy haze. It had been months since I viewed that long stretch of road between my home and our destination, and I would sleep for half an hour, then in a half-sleep daze photograph the scenery outside the car window, only to fall back asleep on my brothers' shoulders. This cycle repeated four times.

It seems that every time I go whale watching, the weather is perfect and all the animals are alive. Our guide repeatedly would say, "The weather is not usually like this," or "This usually doesn't happen," or "We usually don't see this many whales" and it just made me smile because we saw an abundance of life and I knew it would happen. I always have an intuition when something will happen but it always catches me slightly off guard when something happens right when I say it will. Right when I step out onto the deck, a whale pokes its back right in front of me (it actually scared me for a moment because it suddenly appeared). Or, "Oh yeah, once I put my camera down, that whale will come up again," and then five whales suddenly appear. Then five more. Then three different groups of porpoises. Then three bald eagles. Then clear skies and a glass-silent ocean. Call it coincidence if you will, but I have yet to experience an uneventful day on the ocean.

With rising and falling of waves and with wind-tousled hair in my face, the only stretch of land blocking the Pacific Ocean is Hawaii, an unknown land to me hundreds of miles away. And between it and I? Nothing but water with leagues of teeming life and salt and that is just a terrifying and beautiful thought to me, how there can be so much and I'll only see a tiny bit of the surface. Who knows what lurks right underneath my swaying feet? The darkness scares me, but there is a certain beauty in it, for without the shadows there is no light.

And oh man, I just love the ocean. I love how unpredictable it is and how the mountains fall into it and how the light shimmers on it and how the cute little animals poke their heads through it and play hide-and-seek in it and how it feels on my skin and how it smells in my nose and how when I lay down at night in my own bed I can close my eyes and feel myself rocking with the rise and fall of the waves. And I pretend that in that moment I am actually connected to the ocean, feeling what it does in real time, responding to it, allowing it to lull me to sleep. And maybe that's not so far from the truth? At least I like to think that way.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

ceramics haul

purple cups

You can check out my ceramics haul from last year here. While I didn't make as many pieces this time around as I did last year, I feel like these were much more successful. I wanted to really focus on making lighter pieces and experimenting more with glaze, so I think I succeeded (or at least scratched the surface).

My first project were these cups. I made a bunch with the intention of selling them, but I won't be able to until I am reunited with them, as I had to leave them behind in storage. They were actually dipped in the same glaze, purple haze, and the varying colors resulted from the cups being on different shelves in the kiln. I loved the surprise of it all.

green mugs

I don't think I achieved the optimal mug form yet, but these are certainly a lot closer than last years efforts. A friend recommended a combination of emerald green and splattered black pearl, and I loved it so much I dipped a bunch of things in the combination. (I also made Matt a scuttle bowl with the same colors, but unfortunately didn't photograph it before I gave it to him.)


These were an attempt to make the perfect cylinder, and while I'm not very good at making tall things, I at least made the short things straight! I envision these holding herbs, and wanted to mimic the layers of earth in the glaze--grass, soil, and clay

tooth brush holder

This is meant to be more utilitarian than anything else. The cylinder holds my toothbrush, the middle container holds my floss, and the front container holds my retainer. Just a practical little piece for my bathroom.

diamond planter

This fun little diamond planter actually has holes in the sides so that it can be hung up. I imagine pretty little flowers poking out of the top.

soup bowl

This ugly thing is meant to hold soup and bread or crackers at the same time. Shortly after photographing all my pieces, I realized I could have made this bowl so much more attractive by putting the divider inside the bowl rather than outside it. Oh well, looks like I'll have to sign up for Advanced Ceramics now!

ring holder

A cute little wiener dog ring holder! I desperately needed one, so I stole the idea from the internet and recreated it.

sassy container

I made this thing mostly because the last thing I made with a lid was pretty ugly and I wanted another one. Tried to make it nice and cylindrical, added some sassy looking handles, and made a simple lid.


These photos do not do the glaze of the bowls justice. I tried very hard to make them as light as possible, and they turned out beautifully. I seriously cannot wait to eat yummy things out of them.


And finally is this pitcher. I'm incredibly proud of it because it's the tallest piece I've ever made, and the glaze turned out amazing. It's nice and big and I imagine pretty spring flowers in it and it just makes me happy.

There were a couple other pieces I made, such as some plates and another planter, that were still in the kiln by the time I left, so I won't be able to see the results until I get back to Oregon. But all in all, I'm very proud of my pieces, and I can't wait to create some more!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

goodbye, sophomore year

"Campus Delusion number one: "When I get out into life ..."
College days are not a time in which to prepare for life. College days are life. The weeks and months spent on a campus constitute a segment of the life of every student.
These days may be preparatory to a larger or even to a smaller life thereafter, but in any diary their record will always embody an actual part of the whole. They are life itself.

Campus Delusion number two: "Then I will ..."
It has been suggested that the "Devil's Soft Spot" is that imaginary time or place in which it will be easier to do what one should, rather than here and now. But life is made up of todays, which are lived one at a time. Any duty neglected today becomes more difficult tomorrow. The will power which should have directed the performance yesterday finds itself weakened by the procrastination until in reality the imagined soft spot of tomorrow turns out to be a harder spot of another today. Industry, regard for time, honesty, thrift, courtesy, helpfulness and all other desirable virtues must be incorporated into life today or never.

Campus Wisdom: "Hail to the morn! This is today!"
Whatever I desire for my life throughout the years to come I will, by the grace of God and careful effort, seek to incorporate therein today and throughout the succeeding days as they come one by one. For I realize that life is but the summation of daily living."

A message from Gervas Carey, my university's president in 1949

Oh what a year it has been. I was a different person at the beginning of sophomore year, and in some ways there has been more of a change in this one year period than the previous year. This has been such a year of growth and exploration in discovering my aesthetics, visions, and motivations. It's so weird how quickly sophomore year went by, and at the same time, the beginning of the year was a lifetime ago--a time before I went on the adventures, faced the challenges, and met amazing people that I have these last few months. This place has been a constant inspiration and motivation for me, and it's almost surreal how wonderful it is and how much I have fallen in love with it. It has given me countless opportunities and has blessed me more than I deserve.

Perhaps the two biggest achievements were the completion of the new yearbook and me winning the Triple "S" Award.

For the yearbook: a team of creatives got together with a unified desire to revamp the yearbook. As the senior photographer, I was responsible for most of the photos within the book, as well as writing a lot of articles. Even though each team member had a particular position, we all contributed in various ways and I couldn't be more proud of the 288 pages we completed together. It was a huge new experience for me, as I had never worked for any sort of publication before, but despite all the stress and sleepless nights and cups of coffee, it was completely worth it to hold The Student Collective in my hands. And now, for the upcoming year, I was hired for the position of Creative Director and will be leading the team for the second year of the collective.

For the Triple "S" Award: I won it last year and was completely blown away by the honor. This year, being the fourth year of the award, all the previous year's winners were competing again and I honestly didn't think I would get it. It seems like once every year (or maybe more often) I have an existential crisis where I question all my decisions in life, but then something like this occurs and everything is okay. It's such a humbling experience and I am truly truly thankful for the award and for everyone who encourages me, because without that encouragement, I don't think I would get very far.

There were also a couple other college publications I was featured in, but I am preparing an in-depth post about that.

And now I am back in Alaska, dreaming up adventures and working from home and everything is beautiful. I have a feeling this will be the best summer yet.