Melissa Henry – ISM Class of 2023

Reflecting on my time in the independent study program, I am filled with a profound sense of growth, accomplishment, and gratitude. This journey has been a transformative one, shaping not only my artistic skills but also my perspective on life itself.
The pottery program has provided me with a canvas of clay on which to express my creativity. From the very beginning, I was encouraged to experiment, take risks, and push the boundaries of what I thought was possible. It’s incredible how a simple lump of clay can be transformed into a work of art with the right touch and vision.

One of the most significant lessons I’ve learned is the importance of patience and resilience. The wheel can be a challenging adversary, but over time, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of the learning process. I’ve learned that failure is not the end but a stepping stone to improvement, and that success often follows moments of perseverance and determination.
Pottery has taught me to embrace imperfection. In a world that often seeks perfection, working with clay has revealed the inherent beauty in flaws and irregularities. Each piece I create carries a unique story, and it’s the irregularities that make them one-of-a-kind.
Working with clay can be a form of meditation and mindfulness. The process of centering the mind to center the clay, the rhythmic spinning of the wheel, and the tactile nature of the work all contribute to a deep sense of presence and focus. In pottery, I found a form of meditation that allows me to disconnect from the chaos of the outside world.

The independent study program introduced me to a community of fellow artists and instructors who have become great friends and mentors. The camaraderie, encouragement, and shared experiences have made this journey all the more enriching. I’ve witnessed the power of a supportive creative community that inspires, loves and uplifts each other.
As I reflect on my time in the Independent Study Program, I realize that the skills, lessons and friendships I’ve gained extend far beyond the studio. They have become a part of who I am.

I am deeply thankful for this experience and the opportunity to be a part of this program. The art of pottery has touched my soul, and I look forward to continuing this journey, knowing that it will remain an enduring source of inspiration and fulfillment in my life.

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