Thursday, June 02, 2011

anxiety is futile

This weekend I will be selling my work at Sunset Magazine's headquarters in Menlo Park for their annual "Sunset Celebration Weekend". They are doing a special thing with Etsy and invited myself and a few other Etsy sellers to show their work, as well as giving us a free booth, which is quite generous. I wasn't too worked up or concerned about the show, I thought I would make a few special things and just bring what I have. Then, I looked at the Celebration website, watched the video they have up, and realized there will be thousands and thousands of people at this event. Tens of thousands.

So, I start to stress out. All of the sudden I'm concerned I won't have enough work, or the right kind of work. I've been playing around with a planter concept that I was going to introduce at the Clay and Glass Festival in Palo Alto in July, but I decide I have to bring it to Sunset, it's the perfect venue. I spend part of a day riding my bike out to Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco to buy the perfect plants for my little planters-- which haven't even been fired yet-- and wind up getting a flat tire out in the middle of nowhere and I have to walk my bike over a mile to get to a BART station. I also have been wanting to make these wall hangings-- again, the perfect Sunset customer thing-- and I spend three days trying to cut the pieces, get it to the right level of dryness to work on it, and keep missing my window or messing it up in some other way.

Meanwhile, I had plans to leave town for 5 days to go see my grandma, a two hour drive from the nearest airport and so far out that there is no nearby wifi connection or other computer access. Around the time that I was packing my bags and making a mental list of all the things I would have to accomplish before I left, and another list of all the things I would have to accomplish the second I got back, I realized I was completely insane.
  1. There was no way I was going to be able to bring all the new stuff I wanted to bring, and
  2. even if I did manage to pull it off, it wouldn't change anything anyway.
I would still want more: better work, the right kind of work, less of this, more of that, blah blah blah. There was no point to all of this round and round with myself in the studio, because I would never be satisfied anyway, so what was the point of all my anxiety? I went to my grandma's and (pretty much) forgot about it. When I got home, I even took Memorial Day off. And in the end, I only managed to make the few special things I planned in the first place, which are in the kiln right now. And if you see me at the Sunset thing this weekend, be sure to tell me that everything I managed to bring is beautiful, and buy something while you are at it!


  1. My mom was a worrier/fretter on a grand scale, while my aunt's philosophy was: why worry when it won't change a thing? Thanks for writing an engaging post that drives home this life lesson. Wish I could see the Sunset show.

  2. Whitney, you are there! Successful artist. When you finish with the Sunset thing, take time to evaluate where you are in terms of your career and your art and where you want to go.
    You've posted before about studio assistants, but I think the Sunset opportunity points up the need for someone who can work with you to make the best possible presentation of your work, and to allow you to take full advantage of all future opportunities, cause surely the opportunities are coming.
    Congratulations, and I look forward to seeing how you get to where you are going.

  3. OOOH, this looks so good. I just looked at the web-site video. All that yummy food will put pottery buyers in the beat moods and they will need your beautiful wares to showcase their new skills. I am sure you're going to do great and your display always rocks. Just hope that the rain holds off...see I worry all the time too...fret is my middle name.

  4. I worry about anything like crazy, in a lot of ways its about rationalizing your worries to help them subside. Hope the show goes well!