Monday, April 01, 2013

temporary hiatus

I have not posted in a while, and I apologize to my loyal readers who keep checking my blog and seeing nothing new. I see you in my stats, and it jabs me with a little bit of guilt every time. Half of those visits are probably my mom, actually.

So, if you are one of the few people who are still hanging in there with me, here's the deal: I've temporarily run out of things to say on my blog. Or, it's maybe that I want to say something different, and I haven't quite formulated what that is yet. I keep starting a post, and halfway through I lose all idea of what my point was. Which can be entertaining in itself, sometimes, but right now it just seems unfocused and boring.

I'm taking a break from a lot of things, including my pottery business. I'm selling only stuff that is already made, and just needs to be glazed. I took down everything from my website and etsy shop that I have to make from scratch. I've been working in my garden every day and trying not to monitor external indications of my status, like my bank balance, facebook comments, and website statistics.

I think I have been burned out for a while, but I kept going because that's what I do: use my will to overcome obstacles. I'm ready to stop now, just be, and see what comes up next. Sometimes, I get scared that nothing will come up, I'm all washed up, my best work is behind me, and I'm going to drain away every penny I've managed to save the past 10 years and have nothing and I should just forget about taking a break and go back to the studio and do what I do.

But, I've gotten to the point where I can't-- I have no desire to.  I'm just trying to trust myself and my instincts.

When I have something to say again, I will be back. You can sign up to follow my blog by email and when I write a new post, it will be delivered to you. That way you don't have to waste your time checking, and I don't have to feel guilty that you keep checking and there is nothing there. Not that I'm going to check those stats... anymore!


  1. SO appreciate your candor, Whitney! Enjoy the garden.

  2. It's all good...enjoy the process...

  3. Rebecca10:53 AM

    it takes courage to just be still. I wish you well on your new journey

  4. I hear you! Your flow and energy will return. Your work is too beautiful for it not to. Until then, here are some good vibes in hopes you make and find beauty in your garden and in rest.

  5. Enjoy your down time. How wonderful to give yourself this time out time for your garden and other things that will nurture your spirit.

  6. Sid Leck12:04 PM

    Looking forward to chilling in that garden with you soon.

  7. Heather Landers12:53 PM

    Enjoy your break and may it bring you peace, inspiration, and energy! I look forward to your next creative outburst whenever/whatever that may be! Your work is beautiful and it makes me happy every time I see and use it!

  8. Anonymous2:28 PM

    be free girl, you are awesome. You have no idea what may come up.

  9. Good luck Whitney!

    When we change it often seems that the first step is to stop what we've been doing up to this point, but that doesn't always tell us what the next step will be. It sounds like you have taken a few steps out into the garden, but are at a loss for what else to do, what else to say. Sometimes the difficulty is that we don't see anything as ready inspiration. And the trick at this point is to discover what new things will inspire us. And if we don't already know what that's supposed to look like sometimes it makes sense on focusing on the process rather than the product. Sometimes it makes sense to put ourselves into the journey without expectations or definite plans and just see what comes of it. To be experimental without being attached to the results. Just doing something for the sake of doing it.

    I have this issue in the studio all the time, where I feel like I've said all I want to say about a particular form or way of doing things, and I just need a break. The blog gets that way too. And sometimes the way to take the next step forward isn't so much what is already onside me, but what things I come into contact with along the way. I look at other people's pots and I decide just for the heck of it to try something new and different. I'm not committed to doing it for evermore, just for as long as it takes to either find it interesting or to decide to let it go and try something different. And with the blog, sometimes I will have read something somewhere that makes me think, and in order to discover WHAT I think I just ramble out some nonsense that uses what I read as a touchstone. It doesn't need to be entertaining or even particularly clever. Just get it out. Get it down on paper. The activity of thinking is the momentum you need, not necessarily the goal of a finished product.

    Sometimes the best way to have fun is to not know what you are doing, but to be open to surprises.....

    I wish you the best of luck.....


  10. It's nice to pause, catch our breath and discover a new rhythm :)

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  12. I hope your hiatus is relaxing and awesome. I look forward to seeing what comes next. I enjoyed visiting your studio and buying great pieces for myself, family and friends. Maybe we will see you in more Sunset articles.

  13. Anonymous9:27 AM

    OK first off, your instinct is correct and you should dust yourself off and get back in the studio and do what you do. It's called depression. Work through it or do something else but don't play in the garden and hide from it. It might feel good, refreshing and even titillating but that will pass and you will feel like a mach truck hit ya at some point. The only reason you let yourself get away with it is that you work for yourself and obviously (although you do mention dwindling money) have the resources to feed into this. When my alarm goes off at 5 every morning so I can get up, dress and drive for an hour to code for 8 and drive back for an hour I feel the same f-ing way, difference is I cannot reflect on where my journey should be leading me, it's going to lead me to the shower, car and computer for the preceding 8 hours and that is going to continue to happen until I can work my way into doing what you have walked away from.

    By the way for what its worth your work and blog have been very inspiring so in addition to muffin platters you have also encouraged at least one person to look at life with possibilities and stretch. Currently building a studio on my property and plan to change that 5AM routine to route to it as soon as possible but in the meantime, as you should, I go do what I'm committed to do everyday, its my job and responsibility to myself and my best friend (wife).

    Will send some good karma your way tomorrow at 5.

  14. Wow! Quite a commentary on all kinds of things there, and maybe some, I don't know... projection!? I think one of the saddest and hardest things about living in the world as it is right now is that we are so brainwashed into believing that no matter what happens, we must work. Even artists, the ones who are supposed to guide us into a different plane of existence, believe this. It is very easy to be brainwashed into thinking like this since all of the structures we surround ourselves with require this mentality to keep the structure in place, and you gotta keep the structure in place, god only knows what would happen if it collapsed!!!

    I feel no obligation to participate and force myself to create something meaningless to me. I've already learned the hard way that doesn't work, and that's what leads to depression.

  15. Just be, Whitney.


    -Naomi of TeaButterfly.

  16. this reminds me of the very wise advice one can see and hear in Miyazaki's animation movie, "Kiki's delivery service", advice from a painter (who has experienced first hand a creative block in the past) to a young witch (who has momentarily lost her special powers).

    what to do in case of a creative block?

    first, her painter friend says, you try, again and again, and harder. But...

    if all else fails, you "simply take walks, look at the landscape, take cat naps, or do nothing at all". You just "be".

    as seen in this screen shot:

    -Naomi of TeaButterfly

  17. Anonymous2:25 PM

    You honestly feel that needing to go to work to make a living is one being brainwashed? I just don't understand that thought. I feel lucky to be able to go to work and make a living for my family. At the end of the day someone has to. Anyway, love your work and wish you luck. Hope you get back into your studio at some point. Your early postings on the business of pottery seem right on and much appreciated!

    Luck with the whole 'just be' thing.

  18. I don't think I said that needing to go to work to make a living means one is brainwashed, so no, that's not what I honestly believe. To put a finer point on it, I don't believe that the answer to artistic burnout is work and more work.

    Once you've been working full-time in your art career for over a decade, you will have a different perspective, I'm sure. I've had times in my life when all I cared about was getting to the studio. Burnout dampens those fires. To ignore the fact that your well is dry and to continue to try and pump it leads to collapse, to mix the metaphors. Though it sounds like you think "just being" is a load of bull, I've paid my dues to have the privilege to do just that, and I'm grateful for the opportunity.

    And yes Naomi, Miyazaki's nailed it in that scene.