Tag Archives: creativity

artists’ trading cards and letting go of self doubt

When A.’s parents visited in late February, I had one full, glorious free day to myself. Nonni and grandpa boarded the Rail Runner train to Santa Fe with my two boys at 9:30 a.m. and I had till close to 6 p.m. to do whatever I liked (with CM’s school conference smack dab in the middle of it, but no matter). I decided I would write a bit at a coffee shop, throw some pots and get exercise in no particular order.

While at the coffee shop, I researched things to do in Albuquerque and surroundings. And that’s when I stumbled on the Women and Creativity conference. I missed most of the events, but it looked like I could still be involved in the poet’s post trading cards project. It involved me beautifying 10 cards and sending them back to the organizer, and then I would get 10 back in the mail from 10 different artists.

I donated $10 to the cause and signed up. When the blank cards arrived several weeks later, I felt like a fraud. Real visual artists were filling these cards out — my arts are clay and writing. But I pulled out some water colors and painted, and man did it feel good to let go of any self doubts (I had no stake in this) and ego and take a paintbrush to these tiny cards.

IMG_7190Last week, I received the 10 in the mail, and I opened them up like a joyful little kid. (I also had my joyful little 4 year old next to me, who was excited as I was.) The cards are spectacular. And every one is completely different. They’re mostly from New Mexico, but one is from New Jersey, one from California and one from Pennsylvania.

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I haven’t decided what to do with them — I might take my favorite few and frame them if I can find something suitable at Michael’s. But the point isn’t (and wasn’t) the end product. It was the process — it was more fun than I expected. It gave me a bit of perspective to calm down and change gears and relax creatively. And that’s what I need often when I’m throwing pots or writing a story. Perspective.

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i love my bowls (and a new understanding of the creative process)

Oh my god, you guys, I picked up my pots last night at our pottery party, and can I just say that I am thrilled with the results. I’m seeing improvement! I’m seeing improvement! Not only in my throwing, but also in my glazing. It’s like the spigot, which was trickling before, has opened and I’m overflowing with creativity.

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Now I’m thinking of all of the things I want to make: sushi set, cookie bowl, butter dish, plates, potters for plants, a pitcher, wall hangings, etc. Of course, our place isn’t big enough to hold everything I’m making. A. says he’ll add another shelf in a kitchen cabinet to make room for the bigger bowls. Serving bowls was my goal this time, and I did it.

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This was my third class this year, and the best part of it is that I’m getting a better understanding of how slow a creative process can be. And how it’s worth it to dig in, and dig in, and dig in and get better and better. Each step is slight, so it’s hard to see progress (and to easily get frustrated), but if I compare the first class with the third class, the improvement is obvious. I also feel closer to the pottery community, and that takes time to build those bonds and prove your dedication.

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Lois, my teacher and a talented local artist, has convinced me to enter a few of my pots in the county fair in October, which is something I never would have considered in D.C. I know I won’t win, but that’s not the point — the point is that I’m getting more and more involved in the creative community. It feels more natural here than in a big city. The barriers aren’t so great: the cost is lower, it’s more convenient (Lois lives a mile up the street) and it’s less competitive. Lois has also asked me to demonstrate throwing pots during the Open Studio Tours, a local event where 30-some artists open their studios to the public to raise money for the Maturango Museum. I’ll get to throw all day with two other amazing women and glaze and keep what I make — what more could I ask for?

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As for the next weekly class, I’ll have to wait till next year, but I plan to channel my brimming energy into other creative endeavors.

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