I’ve decided to allow my modern students to take “notes” in all sorts of ways, and this is how one of them is doing it.
Over the past 18 months, I’ve taken a much needed hiatus from almost everything involving my personal studio practice. As I was finishing at the Bray in the winter of 2013, I was feeling a serious sense of burnout. Looking back on it, I can safely estimate I averaged 70 hrs/week making work in the studio, for 104 of the 116 weeks I was there. I left with a huge sense of accomplishment about how I had developed and changed my work, but I just didn’t want to keep working that hard and have no financial progress to show for it. I thought for a while being a hard working studio potter was the title and lifestyle I wanted, but after having the privileged opportunity provided by the Bray to test it, I know it’s not the path for me.
Nicole and I moved to Seattle, and I was able to come full circle to complete a dream and teach alongside my college faculty at the University of Washington. I was also coaching rowing (lots of pictures in a prior post here), and that gave me a real sense of satisfaction being involved with athletics again. Athletics has always been a big part of my life, and reintroducing it felt natural. I was making a few pots here and there, and that felt okay for the time being. I greatly enjoyed no longer being financially dependent on my work. The position at UW was always a temporary one, so I knew I needed to come up with a longer term solution.
After much introspection, I concluded I needed the combination of making, teaching, and coaching in my professional life to be truly happy. I also wanted things that a full-time position provides like a livable salary, health insurance, retirement, paid time off, etc, etc. At this time I was coaching high school boys and really loving it, and based on what the boys and their parents were telling me, I was feeling like a successful instructor for that age group. I realized I could possibly teach/coach/make at a private high school. I followed a tip given to me in graduate school, and applied with Carney Sandoe. It worked, and I am now very happily employed at the Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma WA.
I now teach four classes of ceramics and one class of photography. I will also be coaching the golf team in the spring. I am back to making art, and have a few shows coming up that I’m excited about. Life is good.