Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thinking Reality (and why I work seven days a week)

I firmly believe that our thoughts have the power to become things. My thoughts are constantly in my work. At times I feel that this endless attention is something to be ashamed of, something to apologize for. I even frequently find myself doing just that- apologizing for thinking about pottery, talking about pottery, working on pottery. I diminish my work through these apologetic phrases. I find myself slowly becoming convinced that I have an unhealthy obsession to my work, and I am sure that if I am able to convince myself, I am also able to at least suggest the thought to others. But then I remember how much I have changed my life in the last year, and suddenly I feel purposeful pride and confidence in my work. I have made this life.

If our thoughts must always be somewhere where better to assign my mental attention than on the very thing that makes my life what it is? I work hard and I work often. Always seven days a week. Usually from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep, in some capacity. I acknowledge that this probably qualifies me as a Workaholic. And I am completely okay with that. I would like to recognize however that this title is not a derogatory attachment. I work hard because I have to. I truly need to work just as hard as I do. If I worked any less my business would not  have grown in the way it has these last twelve months, and my business would not continue to grow with the same acceleration if I decided to work fewer days or even fewer hours. In order to maintain this momentum I must push forward with the same endless commitment.

I am not complaining about working long hours seven days a week, I am simply offering an explanation. I love my work. I find great pride in what I do. One of my very favorite things about my work is knowing that every moment I put into it will reward me. There is a direct connection between the time I spend thinking about clay to the time I spend working with clay. Taking that a step further there is a direct connection between the time I spend working with clay to the number of sales I make each month. More sales, obviously means my income rises, but more than that, more sales means more recognition, support and a greater sense confirmation that I am on the right path. With this sort of linear relationship it is honestly hard to want to put my time anywhere else.

In the last year I have created a life and a livelihood for myself. Making a living from dirt is no small feat. I have recently had a few people ask me how I have been able to make a living doing what I love, and this question has me thinking. I consider myself a lucky person, but when I break this down I realize everything I am calling "luck" is actually hard work, dedication and constantly thinking and talking about pottery. Alright, so luck has little to nothing to do with it. For me, I have created my dream through constant dedication. I have made sacrifices to make my lifestyle work with my livelihood. I have become adaptable to my circumstances, all the while envisioning my future through my constant dedication both in thought and physical studio hours.

I say all of this to acknowledge to myself the growth I have made in this short time. From waiting tables and teaching part-time at an art studio to running every aspect of my business and supporting myself from my work in just twelve short months. Making big changes in your life is possible. Having a dream that you are willing to put yourself into one hundred percent is in my experience the best way to change your life, to shape your future. Thoughts become things. I took my thoughts and became a full-time potter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Season New Work

Many of my favorite things belong in the cooler weather of Autumn. All summer long I sipped cup after cup of hot tea, often outside on my beloved porch. Despite the near constant temperatures in the upper 90's I have enjoyed my tea each and everyday. In the last few weeks I find I am enjoying it more, and transitioning into the spiced varieties, This transition and slower sipping was my personal tip off that Fall is coming.

I have a thing for layering, also better suited for cooler weather. Each morning as I dress I look longingly at the pairs of tights which have sat nestled in a corner of my drawer for the last six months. Boots and scarves also discarded carelessly in my closet the last time I slipped them off back in April, certain I'd wear them again within days, but which have now collected dust. With a pottery studio in your home, everything collects dust. And, I can measure time this way. Time that has been too much, and too long. I am ready for Fall.

While I am ready for Fall I find myself wondering if my work is. And I find myself answering both 'yes', and 'no.' The colors I grew into this past Spring and Summer became distinctly my own and a thing of comfort for me. I learned the way each color worked, how to make it, where its limits were and how to use each shade confidently. These bright colors had an undeniable touch of pastel to them which fit my intentions for a modern, floral inspired summer palette. But now it is Fall and I want my work to reflect the changes in scenery, food, clothing and atmosphere that make this season unique.

In the upcoming weeks I will be sharing the beginning of my Fall and Winter line. I have already selected the colors I will be using, and will begin mixing up the first round of sample glazes next week. I will also be working to incorporate new textures and surfaces into my work. Expect to see more collection minded work, sets, serving ware and mugs as we transition into Autumn. Here is a little teaser of the colors I am loving for my Fall work:

I am looking forward to sharing my latest work with you very soon! Stay tuned!