Wednesday, October 14, 2009

my real job

I've written before about how many hours I have to spend on the computer with work-related stuff, and how it makes me feel like I'm wasting time, and I get resentful. Not only do I sometimes resent computer time, I also resent lots of other tasks, like packing and shipping, glazing, popping and cleaning molds, and sweeping the floor. A lot of the time I find myself gritting my teeth and mumbling, "Where is my dang intern/assistant/slave when I need them? Why am I doing this job?"

Since interns come and go, my assistants are usually busy with a million other tasks I assign them, and I have yet to source any clay slaves, I've realized that my resentful attitude about daily tasks is not helpful to me. In my quest to improve my attitude around my work, I've started thinking of all of these mundane duties as not annoying little things that get in between me and my real job--making pottery-- but as an integral and important part of my work. Everything I do that is related to my work is my job, my real job.

Since I usually only count making pottery as working, and the rest of it is just stuff that I do, I always think I'm not working enough. This is a self-defeating mind set because I always attempt to do more than I possibly can, then I blame myself for being a slacker when I get behind "schedule," which is pretty much every day. Really, what is happening is that I think I can walk into the studio and just make stuff, not taking into consideration that I have to perform a bunch of other tasks to get there. It's like the bee who gets mad that he can't deliver the honey before he gathers the nectar. That's a dumb bee. For me, and probably for you too, it's time to start thinking like a smart bee.


  1. i hear you... when i'm on my hands and knees sponging clay dust from under the tables and shelves, i don't usually view that as my real job.

  2. It makes me feel more sane to hear someone else put my normal state of existence into words!

  3. I feel the same way. I have to constantly remind myself that packing, shipping, cleaning, and so forth are part of my job too!

  4. Boy, did you say that just right! There are so many other things that we all have to do in our studios, and none of us want to spend the time or the energy to do those things. One of my least favorite tasks is staying organized with papers. I hate to spend time filing and dealing with papers! What a waste of time!

  5. I am a new potter, 52 years old and have done a number of jobs/businesses in my life. And there are a lot of tasks that I do not like in them.

    A couple weeks ago I was chopping wood for a kiln firing I am doing next month and last week I was unloading a pallet of bricks from my trailer, I am building a Raku kiln here at home. And in both cases I said to myself, so this is what it is like to be an Artist. To do the mundane never seen part of the art that has to be done at some point for my art to be seen by others.

    I will admit I do not like to trim my pieces..yet! Re-centering takes me a while on each piece and then I get into it trying to get it just right and can take up to an hour per pot, while I watch experienced potters do it in minutes.

    I keep telling myself it is all in a days work for a potter.

    Thanks for your inspirations


  6. I like the bee analogy... I needed that little pep talk too. Thanks

  7. LOOOOve that pic of the lotus...yummy