Taking a Chance on Pottery

Showcasing senior Khai Willis’s talent for pottery by highlighting both her high points and her low points during her pottery career.


Photo: Snowden Farnsworth

Senior Khai Willis leans over her pottery wheel while shaping a clay bowl. Willis volunteered to do a pottery showcase at the St. George’s Art Show on family day.

Often the best of experiences happen purely by chance, which is what happened with pottery for senior Khai Willis. Willis entered into the world of pottery after transferring to St. George’s late in the 2018-2019 school year. Former art teacher Gwen English believed her to be a good fit and placed her in the class.

Before enrolling in pottery class, Willis was already well versed in the art of sculpture, which she did in her free time. The practice with sculpture made her familiar with clay, but not the techniques used to make pottery.

Since Willis transferred to St. George’s so late in the school year, she found it discouraging to start so far behind. With the help of upperclassmen and peers, Willis started using pottery to manage stress. 

“I like it because it’s very relaxing and I can just zone out making a bowl,” Willis said, “it’s a good way to shut my brain off for an hour.”

Recently, Willis participated in a professional art show at St. George’s on the family day. She showcased her impressive pottery expertise by making several bowls as part of an ongoing project to create a dinnerware set complete with cups, bowls, and plates.

“We just brought a wheel down into the dining room and I just made some bowls and then parents were asking me some questions,” Willis said, “It was a little bit intimidating at first because they’re moms and they’re asking me questions, so I tried the best I could to answer their questions but it was definitely different having to look over my shoulder while I was working.” 

Willis also had several pieces that she made earlier in the year on display in the student display in the senior dining room. Among the pottery on display were two matching bowls as well as independent pieces. 

Willis has plans to put similar pottery such as these bowls in her art portfolio. Pottery, along with other forms of art is part of her Specialized Independent Study. While she applied to several art schools, Khai intends to do fine arts on the side instead of as her major. Instead, she hopes to work in creature visual effects which would combine her interests in art and film.

While Khai wasn’t initially expecting to do pottery at St. George’s, she found herself drawn to it. She told the Lodge, “I didn’t really choose it. I just kinda got shoved in and I was like, OK I’m just gonna roll with this, and I ended up liking it a lot!”