Graduate Student Spotlight | Faith Ku
"Hood College’s ceramics program is so unique as it offers a robust spectrum of classes that teach graduate students everything from the most basic to the more advanced aspects of ceramics."
Faith Ku, Ceramic Arts MFA
- Ceramic Arts (MFA)
- Ceramic Arts (Certificate)
- Ceramic Arts (M.A.)
- Art & Archaeology
Please provide a brief bio including your educational and career background.
After graduation, I worked for Walgreens in Philadelphia where I had interned as a student. Soon thereafter, I married and moved to Boston where my husband attended graduate school. Two years later, 9-11 happened and my husband joined the army, which led us to various locations around the country. During that time, I worked at several different community pharmacies including an army clinic at Fort Drum.
My experience as a pharmacist was eclectic, obtaining new jobs at various locations as we moved around the country. Eventually, we ended up in Maryland and I found myself working far too many hours, spending most of my days off going back into work to complete tasks and follow up on issues so my patients could receive the care they needed and deserved.
Although being a pharmacist was rewarding, I found myself over-extended and yearning to go back to school to pursue a career that involved some type of artistic and creative vision. Architecture was a career that I had considered as an adolescent so I decided to attempt it.
With the encouragement of my husband, family, and friends, I enrolled in a few art classes at Harford Community College (HCC) in 2013 in order to begin creating the portfolio needed when applying to an Architecture program.
Why did you choose Hood College and the MFA in Ceramic Arts in particular?
In 2015, I took my first ceramic class and was hooked. Although at the time, I felt that I had found my medium, it didn’t even occur to me to pursue a degree in ceramics. I continued to learn to draw, paint, and make ceramics until I accumulated enough quality work for my portfolio.
When the time came for the application to be submitted, I found myself waking up and going to bed thinking about clay. It finally occurred to me that, rather than applying to an Architecture program, perhaps I should consider a degree in ceramics! Now the choice seems crystal clear but, at the time, I didn’t want to let go of this idea of architecture as a career plan.
Right around this time, I found a potter wasp nest near my front door and thought, “Hmmm, is that a hint?” For weeks afterwards, I had discussions with my husband, my friends, myself, and the Universe while attempting to work out my future path. Then, the Ceramics Department Head from HCC, Jim McFarland, told me about Hood College’s ceramics program. I looked into it and decided to apply to both Hood and the Maryland Institute College of Art. I was accepted to both, however Hood College seemed like a better fit for me.
Hood’s certificate, MA, and MFA programs stood out to me because the curriculum is geared towards students who already possess baccalaureates in any discipline, much like some architecture programs. Most master’s programs for ceramics are studio-based, in which the student enters the program with a BA in Ceramics and an expectation to work with occasional guidance from an advisor.
Hood’s ceramics program is so much more unique as it offers a robust spectrum of classes that teach graduate students everything from the most basic to the more advanced aspects of ceramics. It includes scientific courses such as Glaze Calculations Theory and Practice, technical courses such as Master’s Throwing and Kiln Technology, and artistic courses like Sculpture, which also could be considered technical as well.
Has Hood College connected you with any professional opportunities in the area?
This year, I was fortunate to be one of eight students chosen to represent Hood College at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore. My fellow classmate, Christina Nations, selflessly helped me from morning to night to prepare for the reduction gas firing and the firing the following day. Taylor Pasquale, the Ceramics Arts Technical Coordinator, helped me for part of the day as this was my first solo reduction firing. All of my classmates encouraged me during this time including Corey Shultz, the Studio Manager.
There are various ceramic shows and opportunities across the country and region throughout each year. This information is usually passed on when a Hood student or instructor gets wind of it. I am looking forward to continuing this journey with my Hood tribe for the next few years.
What do you enjoy most about being at Hood College?
If you were to walk into the Hood College ceramic studio during class, you would find a diverse group of people from various backgrounds and disciplines. Although the physical differences may be apparent, all have a singular passion of loving ceramics and wanting to learn about all aspects of it.
This intensity draws us very close to one another as the learning and making processes are very time consuming. Potters tend to share tricks of the trade, unique methods, time, experiences, and anything else that may benefit a fellow potter. We spend quite a bit of time together, much like a tribe. There is such an amazing sense of family at Hood!