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MSTPastimes: Xavier Bledsoe’s (G1) Ceramics

Posted by on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 in Life in the MSTP.

by Emily Chu (G1)

How long have you been doing ceramics and how did you get into it?
I’ve been doing ceramics since 8th grade when I had to learn pottery for an art class. I was miserable at painting and drawing because nothing ever looked like I wanted it to. The same thing was true for pottery. Turns out though, with clay you can keep moving and molding it until it looks right. I loved being able to fix my mistakes and continue working at pieces until they reflected the vision I had for them or until they took the form of something new and novel that I hadn’t imagined but still liked nonetheless. I took a class every year of high school and then joined a studio in college where I eventually taught classes and held open studio once a week.

What do you like most about ceramics?
It’s meditative and just a wonderfully relaxing creative outlet. I like that it’s productive because I have tangible finished pieces to show for my time. Also it’s progressive in that there is always room to grow and improve.

How have you continued to pursue this passion during medical school?
During my first year of medical school, I took 2 courses at Centennial Art Studio. Recently, I found a kind old man in Chattanooga transitioning from ceramics to woodworking who practically gave me his kiln, wheel, and tools. Thanks to him, I’ve been able to come home from the hospital and enjoy throwing pieces on my back porch with my incredibly talented housemates.

What advice do you have for anyone else interested in ceramics?
Find a friend and go take a course at Centennial or Sarrat! They have wonderful teachers and good studio space. Lean into the difficulty of it and see if it’s something you love. Best case scenario, you’ll discover a new passion. Worst case, you’ll come out of it with new friends, new experiences, and fun memories.

If you would like to share your MSTPastime with us, please email us at mdphd@vanderbilt.edu.