Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Dad, Mark Wilkins, and a New Maharishi School Kiln

Maharishi School ceramics instructor Mark Wilkins, CrowdRise fundraiser
When I was a kid, I remember my dad showing me a ceramic seal he had sculpted when he was a student at Oceanside, California, in his art class. 

He showed it to me and my brother when our family was getting ready to travel south to vacation with my aunt in San Diego. It was Dad's introduction for us to the environment where he was raised: ocean, waves crashing upon the beaches, and seals sunning on the rocks.

It was a new environment for a boy used to valley heat and mountain pines. The pose of the sculpted seal was my introduction, touching the lines of musculature in the sculpture, the arched back and the nose pointing to the sky. Later, my brother and I saw these same poses in real-life seals, heard their barking and saw their awkward on-shore flippered shuffling. The sculpture my dad created contains all those elements, created 75 years ago, and now part of the legacy of my dad's time on earth.

This is what came to mind when I learned of Maharishi School's CrowdRise fundraiser campaign to buy a new kiln for the school--not the students now, but my father as a student 75 years ago, given the at-school opportunity to sculpt into being some aspect of his life. I wish I could show you a photo of that sculpture, but it's 2,000 miles away, still in California with my mother.

Seeing Mark Wilkins in his ceramics class, guiding his students as they take clay and shape it into art, provided me with a revelation of the continuity of our lives and how our lives affect our children and grandchildren. When I was in the Cub Scouts, my dad carved a kerchief clip for my Scout uniform. I remember watching him carve and seeing the wolf's head emerge from the wood. It was a magical moment for me, and I wonder how much of my life as a writer, a creator with words, owes itself to moments of watching my parents create, of seeing those artifacts of my parents' artistry--objects my dad sculpted or carved, sketches that my mom had produced while in school. How much of my life as a writer owes itself to those teachers who let me create with words when I was at school?

We now have a chance to help Maharishi School continue its tradition of establishing an educational environment that promotes creativity in all fields of life. A ceramic cup today, a new medical device years later. We have alumni producing such innovations right now. It's time now to purchase a kiln for the next 30 years of creative young students at Maharishi School.

So get fired up about our new kiln and connect with the CrowdRise page. Listen and view a video clip about our ceramics program by Mark Wilkins. We're about 25% on the way to achieving our goal, having only been fundraising for less than a week. Most likely, 75 years from now, someone will be drinking from a mug or looking at a sculpture and just plain feeling good that creativity and expression exist in the world. They always have and always will, especially with a little extra boost from us.


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