My time in South Korea has come to an end as has summer. I need more time to sit with the lessons that I have absorbed during my time on Jeju but I can tell already that years from now I will reflect on the past month and a half as a particularly transformative period in my artistic journey.
However, the lessons extended beyond just the pottery studio. I came to understand a huge amount about Korea and its people. Throughout my globe-hopping to a few dozen countries and every continent other than Antarctica, I have never come across a more hospital people. You can tell a lot about a country based on how its people treat foreigners and guests. I could not have asked for kinder hosts or a more generous and accommodating group of people to surround myself with.
It’s always strange coming home after being away for an extended period. I foolishly expected the city to hold its breath for me to come back, like some museum exhibit gathering dust. But I suppose everything changes. I stopped by my old high school a couple days ago to help out the ceramics class with my old teacher. We were in a different building with different teachers and different students. Its hard to say that it even is still my old high school at all. I stopped by my old studio yesterday as well. I spent some time outside, looking through the window, debating whether or not to go in. It’s a long way off from its glory days. The arrangement of the studio and the people inhabiting the space were not the same, at least not as I remember. The studio went essentially bankrupt and was bought up by new management who changed the clay and glazes, all for the worse, and got rid of some of the teachers I had become quite close with. I grew to resent that place towards the end. I think I made the right call not going in.
Some chapters in our lives close and there’s no need to reopen them and that’s okay. I’m surrounded in my bedroom by half-finished pieces such as this one that I refused to glaze under the new studio regime. Some are quite lovely and I will get to finishing this year. It’s good to be home.