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.