My journey with clay has taken me far from where I started. By profession I remain an academic scientist but the visceral appeal of working with clay has drawn me towards new fields of research, reignited dormant humanistic interests, and motivated me to completely reinvent myself as a teacher. Clay gives me fresh drive and urgency to reconnect with my Japanese cultural heritage – to engage Japanese aesthetics along with its historic and linguistic entanglements – as a path towards elaborating the Nisei core of my identity and expressive voice. For this exhibition I have made two mixed-media installations that incorporate thrown-and-altered, wood-fired ceramic vessels to serve as testaments to clay’s transformative impacts on my career and calling. The forms of the ceramic vessels evoke ancient forms of kanji (Chinese characters used integrally in Japanese writing) that relate to my journey with clay. My first piece is built around the kanji for sensei (teacher, or more archaically, previous existence), framed in a way that suggests a three-dimensional version of the square grids in which students practice writing well-spaced and proportioned strings of characters. My second piece adopts the “three-posted” structure of a shelf stack inside a kiln, with vessel forms in the middle shelf for the kanji that make up the word butsuri (physics). From top to bottom, the shelf contents perform a circling-back from art to science.