Hi...I have some news....
The time has come to close the studio at 10 Stowe Street, and discontinue production of the votives, luminaries, and lanterns. I know this may seem like a sudden, drastic action, but its been brewing for a while, and I'm really quite excited about it.
When I started to get the inklings to close, it was difficult to imagine. I've been in business for a long time...18ish years...and this work has become so much my identity and who I am that I had a hard time seeing myself as something else. As you know, having a small business means you rarely leave it alone, or it rarely leaves you alone, and so, after so many years, its become the fabric of my being. It has come, for better or worse, to define me.
But slowly, the more I thought and dreamt throughout the past year or so, I began to become excited at the prospect of having the freedom to create something new of my life. I started taking online classes and making art at home in the evenings in my still-set-up-Covid-shut-down-pandemic-makeshift studio in my living room. I began to get some energy back and excitement about creating art again. I started to imagine other possibilities for myself, my time, my art. Possibilities that did not include running a production ceramics business. Yikes! Could this really be happening?? Yes...yes it could.
As many of you know, I have love, loved this for many, many years. I was, and am, proud of what I have built from nothing, mostly by myself for a good long part of it. I worked so very hard for so very long. Its amazing to me to think back on all the sacrifices of time and energy and physical well being that I was willing to endure in the name of building this business. I was determined to make it succeed. And I did. And I am proud, and grateful, and happy that I did it.
But in the past few years I began to feel more like a machine, and less like an artist. Even with the move to the new studio and showroom, a goal I've had since the very beginning, I began to feel like something just wasn't right. A LOT of this has roots in moving just as Covid set in and the lost momentum, and financial and supply chain struggles that have ensued since. They took a heavy toll on both the business and my psyche.
But even as those issues began to subside I still no longer enjoyed my days at work, nor was I able to find fulfillment in it as I once had. I felt like I should, and I wanted to, but I just couldn't muster it. Here I was, having reached a longtime goal, with a beautiful space, a great, dedicated studio manager, and the world in front of me...and all I could think was ugh...I am just not into it. WHY?? It was a bit torturous.
After MUCH soul searching I realized that it is because my creativity was being stunted by production work. While grateful and happy that the work resonates with so many and means so much to the people that love it, I just was struggling to find any joy in my daily life. I felt like it was seeping into the work itself. That did not sit well either.
As a creative person, making the same thing day after day, year upon year, takes its toll. While I tried again and again to design and create new things, I would often get dragged back in to the production at the expense of new work, and those experiments would either become one-offs, or sit on the shelf half finished awaiting their turns. I have so many half-birthed ideas in boxes in cabinets and gathering dust on shelves. It was and is incredibly bittersweet.
I did try so many ways to remove myself from the production...mechanical methods (not even close to resembling the hand carved beauty and uniqueness), overseas production (closer to producing good results but too pricey and logistic-y), finding others to carve (no one seemed to want to try). It was disheartening and exhausting, but I kept going, believing that something would click, at some point. It never did.
So, rather than go another year feeling like I'd rather not, I have made the decision to stop. I am ready to identify with the fact that a production artist is no longer who I am. I am an artist, a philosopher, a creator, a teacher; curious and in awe of the world. I cannot wait to explore these sides of myself again. I want my world to be bigger. I want to have different conversations.
As a result, I see this not as an ending, but as a beginning. I have already begun to follow the different threads of my interests: I'm painting 2D artwork, reading about aesthetics, teaching myself Adobe and designing for home textiles. I am considering going back to school, and excited about some upcoming teaching opportunities. And travel...oh travel, I have missed you so!
The website will remain live...I will be adding things as they become available. Home decor, fabric, and wallpaper are the most forthcoming, but perhaps original art pieces, and one of a kind sculptures, new lighting pieces, and jewelry will make an appearance as well.
I am still researching new ways to produce the votives, luminaries, lanterns, pendants, and sconces. There are some promising prospects, and hopefully they will bear fruit. Nothing would make me happier, honestly, than to continue having the pieces produced. I do believe in them so much, and love them so much, and truly want to see them exist in the world, and I know you do too. I just don't want to be the one to make them. :) Stay tuned.
I'm really excited for this next chapter. I hope you can stay with me as I explore and discover.
And, most importantly, THANK YOU!! If you've read this far please know that I am so grateful for you, and would not have made it this far without you. I love you.