1. Establish my own retail outlet. This let me meet my customers. Get feedback on what I was doing and build a collector base
2. Kept a record of where my larger pieces went. This has helped me keep in touch with my collectors.
3. Developed a steady work habit. My Dad told me when I first got started as an artist that it was going to take self-discipline to get myself to work every day since no one would be checking up on me. He was always his own boss so I had a good role model to follow. Thanks Dad!
4. Taught ceramics classes. I have to say that over the years I’ve learned as much from my students as they’ve learned from me. Helping students figure out how to do projects has kept me thinking and doing techniques besides what I use for my own work. This has kept me a bit more nimble and helped me stay out of the repetitive rut of finding one thing and just doing it over and over.
5. Kept experimenting and always trying to bring out something new each year. I think being raised in a retail business helped me understand that when people come back to my studio to see me again they will be looking for something new. If they bought mugs last year I better be able to show them bowls to match this time around. Maybe the next year is all about the pie plate, etc. As I’ve moved into larger work they still come to marvel at ‘what’s new’.
6. Taking workshops. I’ve had some great teachers who’ve inspired me along the way. Just getting away from my own studio and giving myself 2 days to learn, grow and experiment is so rewarding. I never came back with copying what my teacher was doing in mind but I always came back with a new tool in my skill set and a new set of eyes to look at my work.
So what’s my take away from this list? Keep learning and growing! You really do need to put in the 10,000 hours to master what you are doing and from there you just need to do it . Keep it fresh and interesting for yourself and you’ll never loose your creative spark.