Blessing in Disguise?

Boy, do I have a story for you and it has all taken place in the last few weeks.

For those of you who know the story of my bumpy artist way, I started pottery ten years ago. A friend told me to take a class with her. She was done in one session and I, well I…. never left…

Like everyone else who gets into pottery, you have to put your time in. The saying is something like throw a thousand pots and you might start to get the hang of it. POTTERY IS DEFINITELY NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS. I’m probably just hitting that thousand pot mark and I probably still need to put another ten years in! Never the less, I am hooked. Ten years later and it’s as exciting as the first day.

So hear begins the story. I walk into the pottery studio and was asked to sit down. It’s with a heavy heart that I am asked to leave the nest. During Covid, the cost of all the materials has doubled, yet the cost of a pottery session had stayed the same. The pottery studio was feeling the squeeze. Not to mention because people were dying to get out of the house, the amount of people registering increased dramatically. Twice as many people paying what amounted to half-price. The pottery studio needed a true overhaul to make it to it’s next chapter. During the audit, it became overtly obvious that there were two potters creating WAY MORE than the other students. It was a woman Lynsey and myself. In re-examining the mission statement, the studio was for students, a place to learn. The two of us were kind of past that phase and had moved from student to actual potters. So it was time for us to leave the nest. Time to jump and see if we could fly.

I am not going to lie. I was devastated. This studio had become my home. The people in it, felt like family. I had taught pottery camps to kids, participated in our soup nights to raise money for refugees, as well as really grown as a potter. It truly never occurred to me to do anything but be there. What would I do now?

I was feeling pretty down.

So now what? The other studios in our area are for students, not production potters. Not to mention waiting lists a year long. I guess I could look into putting a kiln in my shed? My basement? But how about safety? Running electricity? Insulating the walls? A pump and plumbing for a wet sink? The costs? It all became too mentally overwhelming. I had no answers. I had no solutions. My anxiety was through the roof.

So I let go.

I had done some research and found online that you could buy a starter studio package. This includes a pottery wheel and a kiln. I hit the button and ordered one. It would take two months to arrive. Hopefully I could figure it out by then. Maybe I could get fully set up by this September? …. and that’s where I left it.

Meanwhile, Lynsey was apparently struggling to figure out what she wanted to do as well. She lives in another town. So we never cross paths. And then BOOM, things fell into place really darn quick. I get a phone call from Lynsey that she had inquired about an artist’s studio in a mill in her town. The waiting list can be years, so an available studio was a fluke. Would I want to come take a look?

Now I’ll be honest, at this point I had resigned myself to never leaving the house as I lived in my pajamas in the basement with my kiln. I said “I don’t know Lynsey, I’ll go and give it a stomach check. If I get knots in my stomach I’m walking away and if I get butterflies… well, then we can talk….

Ok. I totally got butterflies!!!!

This studio is in an old mill that has been rehabbed to accommodate a bunch of artists. 40 different studios to be exact. Oh man, the light from the old windows, the patina of 150 year old floors and did I mention this was already a pottery studio so there was already a 220 electrical amp, vent for a kiln and wet sink???

Pretty much EVERYTHING WE NEED!

Sometimes the universe has better plans then the ones you could come up with on your own.

At this point I’m pinching myself. Was I not in tears only a week ago??? I don’t even have to tell you that we took it. Lynsey bought in on my studio package and we upgraded to the largest kiln Olympic makes.

No joke. This kiln is huge. you could fit a person in it! We have given the kiln a name. We are calling it “The Beast”. Did we mention we had to get this thing up 33 stairs??? …..that’s a story for another day ;) It wound up that when we upgraded to a larger kiln, we no longer had to wait 2 months. They had a kiln ready to deliver ASAP. June 1st was opening day and 2 weeks later there’s a kiln in the place (no electricity yet… we’re crossing our fingers it will happen in the next few days.)

Last weekend I hit up some yard sales… and then we started to make the place feel a little bit like home.

So let me tell you a little bit about Lynsey. Of course she’s a potter, but she also creates hand-painted designs on children’s clothing: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetestHue and https://www.instagram.com/sweetesthue/

I think the two of us are going to make a terrific fit.

Things are coming together very quickly. I’m simply holding on and trying to ride the wave. I’m not going to kid you. This looks pretty fun, but there’s a lot to plan and quite a bit of money to shell out. We have a couple months ahead of us where we will be working out all the kinks. We have to plan to fail a little bit. But I’m not scared. I’m ready. Just think of how much pottery I can make now??? The sky is the limit!!!

It turns out I am ready to fly. I just needed a little push. I will miss my pottery family. I am thankful for all my experiences.

Here’s to the next chapter….

7 Comments

  1. Wow, such a great story. Yes, I too have noticed how the universe sometimes “has your back.” Grace and peace to you both on your next journey. Paul A

  2. That is so exciting and scary! You guys will have fun and do great things. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

  3. I’m SOOOOO happy for you both! I totally believe in “things falling into place” since I knew no one when I relocated to Asheville, NC, from NY and had no idea how I was going to afford classes at a local studio, let alone a kiln, slab roller, and other pottery accoutrements. Fast forward to three years later and I have all of that at a reasonable cost because another potter decided she’d rather be at a communal studio and sold me everything at less than half of what it cost her brand new.

    I’ve been following you for several years now and your artwork/creativity never fail to impress me and make me smile.

    Good luck to you both!!!

    1. I remember our conversation before you moved! You were quite miserable at 6our job and needed change but of course the whole experience is a little bit terrifying. I remember you saying you came across my blog at just the right point because I was encouraging people to take a leap 0f faith. You told me the universe sent you the exact message you needed at the exact moment that reminded you to go for it. I follow you on instagram. Btw I can truly see a difference in your work since you moved. Something’s going on down there. You seem pretty happy,wicked creative and highly productive. It’s totally working for you! Tomorrow morning we open our kiln to see our very first glaze firing. I’m a nervous wreck. Will it have been too hot and all the glaze ran down onto the shelves? Will it not have been hot enough and the colors are dull? Or will it be just right? We’ve hit a couple stumble blocks, so I can only imagine. Either way I can’t wait to open that thing tomorrow morning!

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