This month I interviewed Tomoko Nakazato, ceramics instructor extraordinaire at Randall Museum and beyond. This month we thoughtfully reflect on the act of creating art with clay and the extensive effects it has on the artist. The topic came to mind as I was thinking on all of the hours I have spent in the ceramics studio with Tomoko making art, contemplating life and laughing heartily on the results of such musings. As a scientist, I have found art to have a profound impact on my inquisitive nature, lending to a more universal process in pursuit of truths. Art and science are not mutually exclusive. Some young students find themselves polarized as either a smart kid scientist or a creative kid artist. Everyday at Randall Museum we strive to dissolve those boundaries and encourage universal learning that embraces STEAM and not polarized, antiquated traditional roles. Please continue to read the thoughts of an amazing artist.
Q: How would you describe yourself professionally?
A: Professionally I am a ceramic artist who is very curious about creative processes. I love exploring my life, to understand who I am personally, globally and within my community. I also love to use ceramics to explore the same relationships with our environment in others.
Q: How do you perceive role role as an instructor at the Randall Museum?
A: I think I am here holding a space [in the ceramics studio]by which students can discover who they are in a safe environment. Iact as a facilitator for this process.
Q: Does the age of your students affect how you approach this process of self-discovery?
A: Maybe, not necessarily, but the focus is different sometimes. Like if I’m teaching tots, and as they are getting used to the world around them, I am focusing on safety, both physically and emotionally. With adults its the same thing! Also kids and tots tend to have a more open creative process with less technical skills. Adults are actually more opposite…they tend to delve into the technical skill aspect more easily and have a harder time opening up to new ideas. Adults tend to have a harder time exploring new and uncomfortable processes than children do, because that is who kids are and what they are used to as young participants in this word!
Q: How does ceramics change lives?
A: The material (clay) goes through an amazing transformation process…from compressed geologic material that has seen millions of years of change. Then the artist takes this material and can make or transform it into whatever they dream up! When the artist reflects on this act of transformation, it can provide a unique insight that has special meaning in their own lives. This newly acquired perspective can go a long way!
Randall Museum is a unique educational institution because of our instructors like Tomoko. I encourage anyone to sign up for any one of our classes for opportunities to self-reflect, create something new and grow as a human being.
I LOVE learning new things. More than I love learning new things, I love sharing awesome discoveries about our world with others.