My first experience with clay was digging it up in from a ditch in a housing development near my home in Penang, Malaysia. Actually, it had been washed down by the rains and most of the water had evaporated, leaving behind, essentially, mud. It was red mud. At that time it was a fun discovery for a kid. It was an interesting material, very different from sand or dirt. It was very plastic, very formable, like dough.

I could make all kinds of things out of it - marbles, little bowls and animals, etc. Clay pots are used in the kitchen so I knew the clay must be changed somehow to make it usable over a hot fire. My makeshift campfire was not hot enough to do anything to the clay other that to dry it out completely. Nevertheless it was still a fun time experimenting. Looking back it seems funny that in school, we did all kinds of art projects from drawing, painting, lots of painting, paper mache masks, school dioramas, hand puppets, silk screening, wood carving, potato printing, copper tooling, basketry, tie and dye, but no ceramic art. I remembered seeing a potter’s wheel, the one you kick with your feet, in the art room, but no one taught it.  I thought how strange. Those were my growing up years.

I started doing ceramics in 1985 at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. At that time I was living in Irvine and was thrilled to to be able to finally finish a piece - a glazed stoneware sculpture. I finally understood the process that went into changing the clay into something else. I was hooked. My stay in Irvine did not last long - only 3  years. I moved out of the area to go back to school to pursue computers and graphic design. I missed the Irvine Fine Arts Center. There was no facility in the North Orange County area like the IFAC.

Finally in 2004, I said to myself, “I have to do this” The calling from the clay has finally won me over once and for all. I missed doing it all these years, but once I touched it, it was like being home again.
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