As I stand at a crossroads....

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As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Stone Monkey on Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:26 pm

I have a life long dream of being able to be a potter, who like the excellent potter, and friend of mine, John Pitt, has the luxury and good fortune to be able to pot full time and make a reasonable income from it. However having to do a full time 9-5 job in the capital of our country can be somewhat of a set back being that it takes up a good 13 hours of my day. This only leaves 11 hours in which to pot and sleep. Good friends have told me to take the leap to full time pottery but when family is reliant on the income you earn from your day job to live a modicum of lifestyle, puts a certain amount of responsibility on you to stay in the full time job.

Anyway after a few days have passed after a big show I settle back down into my routine of Sleep, Pot, Work not necessarily in that order and get back to the wheel making what I love. See for me, even though sometimes there are deep rooted doubts and fears, I have this life long love affair with squidgy stuff that is millions of years old and you can make things with it. No matter how bad it has got, and it has been bad sometimes, or how bad it will get in the future, I always come full circle and "Pot". John Pitt said to be about 6 years or so ago, "Stick with it, it will pay off in the end". What John said to me is still lodged in my head and won't go away, so perhaps I have answered my question already. Self doubt and sometimes self loathing, I feel, is all part of the creative process as an artist. It can be a lonely and solitary road. Only when you see the fruits of your labors on display, show your work and people buying them does it seem worth it. Now I am not asking people to blow smoke up my arse or to have my ego tickled, it's not all about that if you are reading this and thinking I am looking for some sort of sympathy then please think again. I suppose what I am trying to come to terms with is the the why's and where for's of where my life as a potter stands at the moment.

So I find myself again preparing for my next show and last night I was so in the zone it was scary. Well I would rather it be like that than have one of those days when nothing goes right. For me pottery, and not just bonsai pottery, has become a way of life, an obsession and perhaps my curse. I embrace it for what it is, good times and bad and thank all of you so so much for your support and critique, you know who you all are.



Thanks for listening to my musings, or paranoia, call it what you will. The Stone Monkey will be around for a long long while yet, as it is my task for the next 2 years to get my work in a major London gallery, working in London does not seem all that bad after all....

Wishing you all a very very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful wonderful New Year

God Bless

Andy

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Smithy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:46 pm

Good luck on your road Andy.

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  drgonzo on Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:58 pm

Andy-

I have admired your pots for some time. Given the state of the world economy and your families reliance on your income I would not advise the abandonment of your current income stream in favor of pursuing full time pottery. And I hate the fact that I have to write that, and that it is indeed the sad truth of the world we live in now, but I'm afraid it is.

BUT! You can still pot, sculpt, and show and do so as you do now anyway! let that be what fills your heart and refreshes your soul, and let the job be what fills your belly. Find the balance in the two and you will find peace. I wish I could noodle with my Bonsai all day, maybe make a living at it somehow, but I got a farm to run, and chickens to feed everyday.

A close friend asked me not long ago about a similar dilemma, he said "Jay do I quit my job and risk going broke to go chase my dream or just keep it on the back burner until times are better?" And I said to him, "Try and do BOTH at the same time, the Job and the dream, that is the challenge."

-Jay

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Hans van Meer. on Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:16 am

Stone Monkey wrote:
So I find myself again preparing for my next show and last night I was so in the zone it was scary.

And that's what it's all about dear Andy! That rare feeling is priceless and cant be bought! Those chemicals are made when we intuitively creat with our hearth and soul, be it life, music or art! Like some form of cosmic synchronicity! After this high, just like with other addictions, comes the low! And with some artist like you (and me) this leads to over thinking and doubts! And I know the only medicine for that condition my friend....and so do you! Back to that zone, doing what you enjoy and do best! And who are you kidding? You could not stop even if you tried! Very Happy


Stone Monkey wrote:
Thanks for listening to my musings, or paranoia, call it what you will. The Stone Monkey will be around for a long long while yet, as it is my task for the next 2 years to get my work in a major London gallery, working in London does not seem all that bad after all....

That's the spirit! Top of the world ma, top of the world! cheers cheers cheers

Stone Monkey wrote:
Wishing you all a very very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful wonderful New Year

God Bless

Andy

And the same to you my friend and to every one you love! santa rendeer santa rendeer
CU at Noelanders I hope?!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  marcus watts on Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:44 am

One day you need to make the leap and sink or swim by your own doing.

Only then will you have been true to yourself and your self belief, you must not go to the grave saying "what if" or you will always look back and wonder what may have happened. If you are very good at the job you do a good boss will respect your wish to try and make a go by yourself, so talk to them about taking a year or two out - find out if there is a likelyhood of re-employment in the future.

I've always had more respect to my staff if they have a goal in life and want to be self made men, and I'll always do what i can to help them - lack of ambition doesn't do a lot for me........Years ago I took a big financial step backwards to control my own future - the happiness is instant and the finances improve over 2 or 3 years, and finally they improve beyond where you started.

Only you know in financial terms how much busier you need to be with pots to maintain a similar lifestyle - do a few quick sums - deduct your weekly costs getting to work in London etc, see the income you need in extra pot sales, then work out if you can make enough pots per week to cover the shortfall......is the kiln big enough to cope etc, then decide(very honestly) if you can sell them year in, year out.

good luck , i'd be looking to turn left

Crossroads -

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  fiona on Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:02 pm

"...way leads on to way,"

Go google.




I'm more Frost than Coverdale btw.


Last edited by fiona on Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:15 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  pjkatich on Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:29 pm

Your heart is in the right place Andy.

Just follow your heart and your regrets will be few.

I look forward to seeing many more Stone Monkey pots posted here on the IBC.

Best wishes to you this holiday season.

Cheers,
Paul

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Todd Ellis on Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:04 pm

Hi Andy,
I think I can relate to where you are and the (natural) ambiguity that come with these dilemas. I am and artist and first came across this when chosing whether or not to try to dance professionally or to get a job with health benefits; that also allowed time for me to train and work with a dance company. I did this for many years and always wondered how I would do if I moved to New York. I came to the conclusion that I danced well, but was not a superstar; I was content to have two careers ... oxymoron? Very Happy
Anyway, I also did this with landscaping. I felt I was a pretty good gardener and decided to take the leap and start my own landscaping business. I had another person lined up who said he would loan me money to buy equipment to get me started. He didn't come through and I had a family to support. I had clients but wasn't able to make enough money to pay the bills. That and declining health made me realize that I would ahve to compromise. I decided to work at gardening in my free time and work full-time in another field. This way I had "sure" money to be able to afford my bonsai and other gardening projects... and support my family. My spouse is also an artist and works full time in another job.
Today, I would love to be able to do bonsai full-time. Only thing is, despite any talent I may have, I can't afford to take the plunge. I also know that I'm not experienced enough; there are others with more experience and resources. So, even though I am an artist, I have created this niche for myself. I am grateful for what I have now. I have a small backyard nursery and do the best I can.
I believe that once an artist, always an artist, and your work speaks for itself.
Unless I have an investor or "hit the lottery" I think I will always have a backyard business. I suspect that Literati have had similar thoughts and challenges.
BTW, I think your pots are beautiful! Paul is right-on with "follow your heart"! I also think you can be true to yourself by keeping one job and loving and making your pottery too. In these days of economic uncertainty so many things are not certain. Listen to your "gut" feelings as well. If your "gut" is telling you not to make that "jump" ... then don't ignore that either.
Best,
Todd


Last edited by Todd Ellis on Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Gwyther on Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:33 pm

Andy, you've definitely got enough talent ! but maybe now is not the right time with all the financial uncertainty in the UK.

Cheers
Vic

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:43 pm

Hey Andy,

I believe your job should be whatever makes you the happiest. I think this is one of the most important things a man can do in his life. You spend so much time at work, you should really love what you're doing. It'll make every relationship in your life better. I won't give you advice on whether you should jump ship, but I HIGHLY recommend getting a copy of the book called "Quitter" by Jon Acuff. It's a very easy read and it'll help you on your journey. He talks about jumping ship from your day job to your dream job, whatever that may be. In your case, it seems like pottery is your calling since you're such a talented potter.

I'll be hoping you make the jump, because the bonsai world needs talent like yours. I'll also be hoping that your jump is as smooth as possible, because you have a family to take care of and that's priority one.

Many blessings and Merry Christmas!!!!
Sam

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Stone Monkey on Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:13 pm

Sam, Vic, Paul, Todd, Fi, Hans and everyone else who replied to my thread.

Thanks so much for all your words of wisdom and support it means and has helped alot Very Happy

I will be at Noelanders in a few weeks and if your coming, Hans, then I will see you there. In the meantime I hope you all have a wondeful Christmas with your families and fantastic and prosperous New Year

All the best

Andy

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Hans van Meer. on Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:10 am

Stone Monkey wrote:Sam, Vic, Paul, Todd, Fi, Hans and everyone else who replied to my thread.

Thanks so much for all your words of wisdom and support it means and has helped alot Very Happy

I will be at Noelanders in a few weeks and if your coming, Hans, then I will see you there. In the meantime I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your families and fantastic and prosperous New Year

All the best

Andy

Hi Andy, how those it feel to be loved by so many?! Very Happy And you will most certainly see me at the Noelanders, I have to be there to bring in two of my Trees for the show! cheers cheers
Have a great Christmas and a wonderful new year!
CU at the Noelanders!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  landerloos on Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:47 am

Hi Andy, just discorvered this post from you.

I understand the feelings your having, who doesnt want to do he/she loves most doing??? (full time)
You are a talentet potter and I told you so on different occasions, keep going my monkey friend, your reward will come, one day it will.

Happy x-mas and a fruitfull potting 2012 for you my friend santa santa santa

See you at the Noelanders

Hohoho psycho santa

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take your time

Post  Tony on Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:29 am

Hi Andy, the pressure to pay the mortgage put food on the table and get your kids educated is the driver that often keeps you in a job that you do not like. It's two years since I wound down my business of 27 years, the financial crisis forced me into a position I wished I had taken years ago… and that was to go it alone, since that day I have never been in the red with the bank, I have no loans, no credit card debts and I get to spend a lot more time doing the things that I love, including bonsai. There was also another bonus; my office Christmas party is now WAY cheaper.

We will have lots of time to talk at Noelanders. I will be arriving around 11.00 and I am bringing help with me.

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Lee Kennedy on Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:07 pm

Are you coming onto the potters problem here Andy? You try to make a perfect pot only to find the ones with the little mistakes sell better? But in pursuing perfection you make ever more perfect pots?
Anyways you southern monkeys are on strike so often you should have loadsa time Very Happy
By the way rumours of my death have been greatly exagerated,time to get down to the blackthorn pot soon!

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Re: As I stand at a crossroads....

Post  Stone Monkey on Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:26 pm

Hans

It feels good to be loved. I love you too Wink see you at Noelanders my friend for a Leffe or two

Psycho Santa

Peter, cheers buddy and see you in a few weeks mate

Tony

Look forward to it mate and I will be bringing help with me also as Marie is coming along for the ride so perhaps we can all hook up for some food one of the evenings. All the best for 2012

Lee

And there is me thinking you have dropped off the planet!!!. No worry with the blackthorn pot mate just let me know when you need it and a some measurements.

Regards to all of you and Happy New Year

Andy


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