Thirty years ago, a self-proclaimed returning “prodigal son” of the Christian faith was told about a position at California Baptist College to be a ceramics professor.
Though he knew it was the Lord telling him to apply, the young college graduate was hesitant to accept a teaching position at a Baptist school, when his initial plan was to work in an introverted environment.
After taking a leap of faith, Dave Williams, visual arts professor of ceramics, said he sees the abundant evidence that coming to CBU was indeed where he needed to be, just as God had told him.
When Williams first started teaching at CBU, he met a student who later became his wife.
Williams now has twin daughters, Sarah and Haley, who currently attend CBU. Sarah is even in one of his ceramics classes.
“I’ve really come full circle; that’s what 30 years will do to you,” Williams said with a chuckle. “God has blessed me with a wonderful life out of CBU.”
Williams described a specific awareness of God’s power that can come from sculpting.
“Here you are spending your life making things and then you look outside and see the tree blow in the wind, and try to do something like that, let alone a human being who walks and talks and has a soul,” Williams said. “You bow down to God who created it all. People bow down to creation all the time, but you give God the glory. It just makes you aware of how amazing our world is.”
Though he has taught other classes at CBU, Williams mostly teaches ceramics, both beginning and advanced.
The studio is open for all students to come and create, a fact that many students do not know.
For those who only have experience sculpting Play-Doh, enrolling in the class is encouraged for general education requirements.
Ruth Nyquist, senior graphic design major, said she did not let her lack of experience in sculpting discourage her from enrolling in the class.
“I’ve only ever watched people do it and thought, ‘Why not?’” Nyquist said.
Nyquist is currently taking the beginner’s class for fun and as a relaxing break from her hectic senior schedule.
“Art has always been one of my outlets, and I love being able to physically do something with my hands versus on a screen,” Nyquist said.
She encourages other students to take advantage of this unique opportunity for class credit.
“It will expand creativity. Work on one’s motor skills,” Nyquist said. “Seeing what you actually make with your hands as opposed to a class where you’re staring at a computer or sitting in a lecture.”
Kyle Stevens, senior visual arts major, can be found in the studio working on ceramic sculpting projects for his upcoming senior show.
Stevens started ceramic sculpting seven years ago and has developed a passion for the tactile craft.
Stevens has gleaned much admiration for Williams through his classes and their interactions.
“He is an awesome, very godly man,” Stevens said. “He has a great sense of humor, and cares a lot about everyone. He acts like a father-figure to many.”
Ceramics is open to every undergraduate student and offers a different perspective on daily life.
“Life is a miracle every day,” Williams said. “The sun comes up and the sky lights up in different colors. It’s a different picture every day. The wind blows. Seasons come and go. That’s all a visual game for us to watch and enjoy down here. Its makes you sensitive to God’s