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transforming creativity

Transforming Creativity into a Profession

After speaking at the InArtist inauguration event in March about Transforming Creativity into a Profession, I was honored to be asked to participate in a follow-up interview. Here are my replies.

Why did you choose sculpture?

I started playing with clay when I was 7 years old and it has fascinated me ever since. There’s definitely a thrill in mixing the elements of earth, water, and fire to make something lasting and beautiful. I have worked mostly with wheel-thrown ceramics and small hand-built pieces. More recently I decided to try and create larger sculptures. I feel like this is the next step in my relationship with clay.

Tell us about your most successful project

I was really happy with my second attempt at ceramic sculpture. Her name is ‘Muddha’. My first and third attempts both cracked in the kiln, so she was the one successful project during my first year of creating sculptures. She’s currently sitting in the corner of my studio like a guardian/goddess/mother/Buddha spreading good vibes.

What has been your most touching moment you’ve experienced as an artist?

The most touching part of my experience as an artist has to be the amazing friendships I have formed along the way. I feel very privileged to be surrounded by such inspired and supportive people.

What is your most important tool and why?

My hands of course. Of the man-made tools, I’d have to say the potter’s wheel is my favorite. Most of the sculpture work I can do with my hands, but the wheel allows me to make uniform vessels of beauty and practical use. I love eating and drinking from wheel-thrown dishes. Things just taste better, and I’m a big fan of good eating! So no matter how far along I go with sculpture, mosaic, or any other branch of ceramics, I don’t think I’ll ever stop making my dishes on the wheel.

Any advice or tips you’d like to share?

I think there’s a lot of people out there who are in the same situation I was in until last year—wanting to be more creative and have more fun with their work. It can be very scary and even seem impossible to make a total career change in order to pursue your dreams. My advice would be to start with whatever you can with whatever you have, but just start. If that means dedicating just 5 hours a week in your free time, it can grow from there. The important thing is to get started and ignore the critics and naysayers.

What or who inspires you?

My biggest inspiration is nature. I grew up in a part of the world with lots of wilderness and I will be forever grateful for that. My favorite activities have always been in the forest, on the coast or on the river. I’m interested in anything adventurous and connected to nature’s vast beauty and infinite intelligence.

What is your next challenge?

To recreate a sculpture called “The Wave.” I made her last year and she broke in the kiln. I loved that piece, so I’m determined to make her as many times as I need to to get it right. For me it takes a lot of motivation to recreate a piece that I’ve already made. Normally I would just move on to the next piece, so this will be a personal challenge of discipline besides the technical challenges of the piece.

What is your dream project?

I would love to participate in making a large mosaic mural in a public space one day. One that communicates a beautiful or thought-provoking message as well as contributes to the visual landscape of the area.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

Making art means putting yourself out there. Just remember, criticism is not license to quit.

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