Today. During the holiday season, the studio where I do the bulk of my work closes for 2 weeks for a cleaning/regrouping. Normally, during that time, I sneak in for some quiet wheel time while the holidays whirl all about me. It is my oasis and the only thing that feels normal and constant during that time. I'm a nervous nelly. I NEED normal and constant, to be okay.

This year, I decided I would take the two full weeks away from the studio to focus on the growing demands at my job and prepare/rest for what will likely be another hectic year. I figured I could benefit from the break. Use the time wisely.

Instead, I threw myself into work, grew depressed about all the old ghosts every holiday season stirs in me, suffered through two colds and generally felt more detatched from the holiday spirit than ever before. Despite this, I purchased like the dutiful consumer, sent out handmade holiday cards and gifts and did what many of us do - go through the motions. Faking it til I make it, with a grin on my face and a hole in my heart.

I woke this morning still shaking off the last of the latest cold, but eager to get back into a rhythm of a normalized existence. New session starting at the studio refreshed my perspective on work and my lens of the world. As soon as I walked back into the studio, I felt at home. I remembered what is still good in this life, what is still alive and thriving in me. I remembered things like progress and milestones. I remembered that I still have a wonderful gift and opportunity with clay. Every time I sit behind the wheel, I have a clean slate.

There's much to do this year. I'm not one for annual resolutions, or long reflections on all the ways I'm going to do things differently in the coming year. For me, what works is simply vowing to make a better attempt at living a good life. This life is a moving target. I have always told myself, I don't need a list of goals to move forward. All I need is the desire to be better than I was a year before.

Then I looked at my pottery metrics. Last year, I reached some important milestones. I made my first plate (if you knew what a pain in the ass plates were to throw, you'd know what a feat that was). I sold work internationally. I made potter pals across the country. I sold more pieces in 2011 than I did in 2007 - 2010 combined.  In the first week of January, I'm met with a steady flow of commission requests, pending orders and inquiries. I'm already getting a strong inkling (intuitively speaking) that this year will be busier and more productive than I could have even anticipated.

In 2011, I inherited a new (to me) pottery wheel. It's sitting in a garage that needs to be prepped and converted into a home studio, while I am in the midst of considering a residential transition. Suddenly, tonight as I looked over everything that's happening with my creative life, I realized...I need to establish what needs to happen and when.

  • I need to get my home studio up and functional.
  • I need to work on my throwing schedule/project commitments. I want to know what I'm throwing, where my focus should be (aesthetically) and what I need to do to challenge myself this year.
  • I need to be more strategic about how I present my work to the world.

Well what do you know...those look a lot like goals.

I won't make you any grand proclamations. I will just tell you this...I'll make this year better than the last one. That's a promise I tend to keep.