Just jumped…and nets have been appearing ever since.

For 30+ years I’ve made my living as a carpenter, HandyMom, Program Director, Administrative Assistant, but all the while, inside resides an artist. People have often told me this. I’ve known it for a while, but actually saying, “I’m an artist”. Getting up and going into a studio every day to create? Depending on selling my art or my teaching for my living? I didn’t believe I could do it. Would I have the ideas to keep creating? Could I find my market? Could I face the rejection, the criticism? Until now, probably not. Now, here I am going into a studio every day, coming up with ideas, creating the space to work, working on new pieces and getting ready to teach my first class. The ideas are coming.

I’ve now worked in 5 different studios since I thought about embarkingĀ on this journey a couple of years ago. Lamar University in Beaumont Texas was where I met Linnis Blanton and Forrest Goodhue. Linnis was my teacher, my mentor and, along with Forrest became my friend. I left Texas and came back to North Carolina where I taught two classes at the Arts Center in Carrboro, NC and I hope to do more work with them some day. In Auckland New Zealand I found the Mairangi Arts Centre, where I taught an evening class. I also took two classes at Auckland Studio Potters in Onehunga, a suburb of Auckland. This is an amazing oasis of potters and sculptors, so generous with their time and knowledge and experts at tea time. My original plan was to travel back and forth between New Zealand to be with my kiwi husband and North Carolina where I work at Liberty Arts. If I were in my 30s and independently wealthy I might be able to pull this off, but I’m neither and the trip has proven to be too much.

The good news is that I’ve found my home studio. Liberty Arts in Durham, NC is a sculpture studio, mostly metal artists, but ceramics has a corner and it’s evolving. It’s dusty and loud, but ideal for me because I love working with both mediums, metal and clay. And we’re next to the Scrap Exchange, so found objects find their way in as well.

Nets have appeared and it’s often terrifying, especially at 4am when I wake and wonder how I’m going to make this work. But I get up and go to work, quieting the voices which doubt and try to get in my way with worst case scenarios and predictions of abysmal failure. I keep working, one step in front of the other. Sometimes that looks like building shelves, other days it’s throwing pots on the new wheels we were able to get from a local middle school (what a beautiful net that was). Other days it’s sitting here working on my webpage, which I find really difficult, often to the point of paralysis, but nets appear. My husband explains, I find a tutorial, I just focus on one page, a few pictures and a few words. I remind myself that not having a world class website is not the road to ruin. Just breathe, watch another tutorial, build another page, post another few pictures.

One day at a time. It’s not just for 12-steppers.