My relationship with ceramics has always been both joyful and preposterous. As a linebacker and captain of the football team in high school, I spent my free time in Garry Handshoe's art room making cups, teapots, and non-functional, sculptural vessels. Growing up in a family of farmers, teachers, and mechanics, I'd assumed that I would do something practical. Even though I loved the visual arts, it didn't occur to me that I could actually be an artist. I went to college to study engineering because that was a practical use of my skills. My romantic notion of designing and creating objects in an engineering field ceased when I returned to the art classroom in college and switched my major to another practical profession, art education. 

Most people who move to Silicon Valley for work do so to work in technology; I moved there to teach ceramics. As a professor of art at San Jose State University, I work in a ceramics studio in a university surrounded by the hubs of major tech companies – in a culture and community surrounded by global-scale digital production companies. 

One at a time, I make cups out of wire and clay. In an era where expediency is king, making mugs out of wire, which requires about three hours of dedicated time with a pair of needle-nose pliers and calloused fingertips, seems about as hostile to capitalism as you could get. While many of the tech firms here have built their business models around the buzzy ideals of "disruption," I, too, feel a kinship with a model that pushes up against norms and creates new models of looking at the world, or in my case, mugs. My version of disruption is not about maximizing corporate profit; it's about finding new ways to see familiar objects.