Please tell us about what you have done since you graduated?
I started the program as an older student with a full time position as the exhibition designer for the Frost Science Museum. I did participate in a panel discussion related to my thesis paper On Mingei and American Ceramics at the 2014 College Art Association conference in New York. My other activities are related in tangential ways to my thesis and the Maker movement. I continue to have an interest in Japanese and Chinese Ceramics and at every opportunity try to introduce traditional methods used in those cultures to my students in the informal education venues in which I teach or curate.
Is there anything else you would like future generations of students to know about your time in the Asian Studies program at FIU?
I would encourage students to take full advantage of the resources available to them including the writing center at the Green Library. They were a invaluable resource for me when writing my thesis. Make sure to ask a lot of questions about what is available at the campus in terms of resources. I didn't find out about many of these until I was very advanced in the program.
Any other updates since graduation that you would like to share with us?
I lead a panel discussion at the symposium "The Future of the Craft Museum" at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian in Washington DC in 2015. It again was on a somewhat related topic around the makers movement. I also had an article published in the U.K. Publication Engage 33 about making in the museum setting.
So what is James doing presently you ask?
Above is James in the process of a Japanese style RAKU firing.
Raku is a technique that has been adapted and Americanized from the traditional Japanese RAKU ceramics first developed for use in the Japanese tea ceremony. James has done several classes and special evening events at Miami Industrial Arts utilizing the RAKU firing.
He told us that he is working with TigerTail Productions FIRE themed month on a kiln tour that will conclude with a RAKU firing at MIA on April 8th from 7-9 PM. In these events the public is invited to decorate prepared bisqueware (non-glazed pieces) and participate in the firing process.
James has also worked with another potter, Justin Lambert who is based in Jupiter Florida who works with wood fire utilizing traditional Japanese kiln designs. He exclaimed that the effects are amazing, Justin calls it painting with fire.
James's Final Thoughts
As I had mentioned before I was able to be a panelist at the 2015 College Art Association conference and discuss my thesis topic of American Ceramics and the Japanese Mingei Movement. I am very interested in how those traditional processes can influence contemporary design and more that; how the mindset and relationship to materials of traditional Japanese craft practitioners can inform contemporary design methods. Whenever possible I try to bring my experience at the Asian Studies program into the other aspects of my professional life, be it in my job at the Frost Science Museum or through my teaching in informal learning venues like MIA or The Ceramic League of Miami.