Sun. May 26th, 2024

Image: via @wcupa on Instagram

Seth Lopez is far from your average student; he is now in the last weeks of his graduating year as a Criminal Justice major and Studio Arts minor, after originally starting off his college career in forensic toxicology. He never really felt like he had a footing or a real interest in clubs or social networking on campus. While completing the last courses for his minor this past academic year, he honed in on a newfound hobby in the form of pottery after completing his ceramics class in spring 2023. 

‘’I spend a lot of time in the E.O. Bull Center; I’m indifferent to how the space makes me feel depending on the obligations I have here… Some days it is really therapeutic in here; others, it feels like I’m trapped,’’ Lopez said. “Pottery reminds me of working in the kitchen as a line cook; it takes time to be proficient at these types of tasks, and the more time I spend on it, the better I get. Even when I was starting, I was bad at both. Now that I’m finished with the technical style of pottery, it’s now more about how I depict myself and my expression to the world through this art form.’’ 

He also brought up the idea that pottery makes him more aware of how loving someone is supposed to be. ‘’It feels good to do pottery because the amount of time and energy I put into it coincides with how I would want to treat someone the same… an act of service type of way.’’

Just in March, he and fellow ceramics students took a trip to the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference that was held in Richmond, Virginia with art professor, Andrew Snyder. Lopex describes the trip as ”grounding,” saying that it made him appreciate small beauty, and the change of scenery was nice as he had never been to Richmond before.  

In general, pottery is seeing an uptick in the younger generation’s interest. Back in 2021, the BBC’s Dominic Lutyens wrote a piece on this very topic, saying, ‘’The tyranny of working and communicating digitally is one reason for the recent appetite for crafting — it is the perfect antidote to the online world. And of all the crafts, perhaps pottery does this most successfully. The messiness of working with wet or damp clay and the need to follow a process to achieve results forces practitioners to put their phones and tablets aside. What’s more, although multi-tasking has long been seen in a positive light, now is a time when many of us yearn to slow down and focus on a single, absorbing activity.’’ 

Lutyens also adds that “Tallie Maughan, co-founder of Turning Earth, believes many are attracted to making pottery because of the satisfaction they derive from ending up with practical pieces: careers that come with seeing the end result of your work are becoming rare. Working with clay allows people to create something satisfyingly functional. Within a year, you can even populate your kitchen with usable, self-made crockery.” 

In Seth’s case, pottery was an escape for him as senior year brought in its stereotypical trials and tribulations. He plans to not give up on the craft as he transitions to being a graduate and plans to start an entrepreneurial venture with some of his pieces. Seth is the perfect example of not following the status quo when it comes to the college experience and the skills you learn from it. As we all transition to being seniors at some point, let him and others be a testament that it doesn’t matter what point you’re at; you always have time and opportunity to learn something new, which may shape you to be an even better version of yourself.


Isaiah Ireland is a third-year Media and Culture major.

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