Alex Kim ’17 Molds Passion for Ceramics with Nature

Featuring an intricate pattern of deep grooves and irregular cutouts, the winding lines added an organic character to the lightly-mottled surface of the white spherical ceramic. This coral-inspired piece was part of the coral reef collection that Alex Kim ’17 began last spring during her Art-602 ceramics class at Andover and continued into her Independent Project this past fall, titled “Large Organic Vessels.”

“I’ve always loved sort of the vibrancy of coral because I really loved the range of color and how it’s sort of like this hidden gem. You don’t really know what’s in there until suddenly you’re hit by this rainbow of color,” said Kim.

For her coral-inspired pieces, Kim emulated the exquisite shapes and variety found in coral reefs by discovering the various forms nature can take through various ceramic techniques.

“[I] looked at the way the [coral] had such deep grooves and the way its lines were meandering around and tried to pick up on that and replicate that in my work. I felt like the glaze would sort of break over those grooves and the incisions, and it would give it sort of this subtle, sort of natural look. I didn’t want it to be shiny, or I didn’t want it to call attention to itself, but I wanted it to have this very subtle elegance,” said Kim.

Kim was introduced to ceramics at around the age of seven when she began attending a wheel-throwing class at an art center near her house in Newton, Mass.

“When Alex discovered her passion for pottery, it opened an entirely new chapter in her life.  She found a way to channel creative energy that was unique to her, taking on projects of particular interest to the tune of overwhelming artistic success. Not only has she become incredibly gifted at her craft, but she also derives joy from contriving her art. I have loved watching Alex grow as both a ceramicist and a person over her Andover career,” said Emma Murphy ’17, Kim’s friend.

As shown by her two consecutive independent projects focusing on nature-inspired themes in both Fall and Winter Term, Kim derives much of her inspiration from nature.

“It kind of just transports me to this whole other world of just creativity… I’m working with this material composed of minerals and earth and dirt, and I just feel like I’m taken to a more fundamental state of being,” said Kim.

Kim believes that Andover has helped her grow her knowledge and appreciation of art.

“Alex and I have been roommates since our Lower year, and it has been such a joy to watch her love of ceramics grow in the time we have lived together. Her approach to clay, to feel it as almost something alive, to notice how it reacts to her touch, truly never fails to catch me off guard. She is constantly looking for new directions to take her art in, and I love going to visit her in the studio and seeing a whole herd of new pieces.  I can’t pretend to really know what she’s talking about all of the time, but her love is so evident that I’m always excited to hear about her new pieces or ideas. I love going to visit her in the studio because I get to see this other side of her. I can see her fill with this gorgeous vivacity that she shares with the world through her art,” said Chaya Holch ’17.