CAC Student: Maggie Chow Shares Her Transformational Clay Story
Maggie Chow has been taking ceramics classes at Clay Art Center for 10 years. She has studied with almost all of the instructors at CAC, as each of these “wonderful, caring, and skillful teachers” have generously helped her to develop her technique and expand her “dictionary for clay.” Chow grew up in Hong Kong, and it was there that she learned to enjoy handmade art. She had slowly started to gain interest in pottery in the early 2000s. However, her story doesn’t quite begin there.
When Chow was seventeen, she had the desire to pursue an electrical engineering degree, so she came to New York to start her undergraduate study. As she continued to grow professionally, she realized that there was a void in the other side of her brain. She felt that she desperately needed to express herself artistically. However, her life was very busy professionally and personally. She had two children at home, and was still pursuing a graduate degree in Business Management.
Unfortunately, in 2004, Maggie Chow was a victim of a drunk driving accident. She says that the near-death experience made her realize that life is too short. The silver lining with her accident was that she realized that we should all be living our lives to the fullest, and there may not be a second chance for her to try a new hobby. So, in 2007, Chow took a pottery class, and she says that she has been hooked ever since. Pottery has been an excellent form of art therapy for her. She states that the passion for ceramics has brought her so much joy and happiness to make her hungry mind content.
Chow describes pottery as providing her a space for her mind. It’s a peaceful, creative world that is so addictive. She likes to explore different techniques, shape, clay bodies, and glaze through inspiration from her family and her memories. Her artwork is also largely influenced by her professional life. She enjoys combining her engineering thinking and her ceramic building process into her pieces. By integrating the functionality and beauty of forms and colors, it allows her to explore, experience, and practice. Each of her pieces are carefully designed and make with love and care. She states that the people that receive her work enjoy the fine details and intricate process that she builds into her pieces. With handmade continuing to become more treasured by the community, she shares her joy, creativity, and passion, with the people who pick up her work and jurors that review her pieces.
She found that creating pottery helps her to train her patience and critical eyes to see the beauty in our world. That makes her think about “How much God loves us as He used His remarkable creative hands to make us into such beautiful children of His. As in Isaiah 64:8 “O Lord, our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Chow says the ceramic artists (outside of Clay Art Center) who have had an influence on her art are Todd Wahlstrom, Martha Grover, and Christy Knox. She admires the artists’ ability to combine beauty, harmony, and simplicity, their technique of handling porcelain, and their ability to combine the beauty from simple nature of elements into functional pieces.
She says that she loves Clay Art Center, and that “It is a wonderful place and community that shares the same passion. Everyone is so generous to share their skills and nourishment for each other. Clay Art Center provides a peaceful place for me to practice my art and balance in life!”