I am in the midst of making my new year’s resolutions. This is a task that I take quite seriously – mostly because I have low guilt threshold – so it doesn’t take much for me to feel guilty. If I casually set a goal and subsequently drop it, I will be prone to waves of guilt and an incapacitating sense of failure. Therefore, I strive to be very pragmatic about goals and resolutions.
Last year, I shared some of my pottery resolutions so I thought I would review them before committing to 2012’s goals.
Better Pots: The general focus for 2011 was practice and refinement. I made a LOT of pots this year. By making so many sets and multiples, my throwing efficiency improved; I am able to make larger pots out of less clay and I can make them much quicker. I was mindful and purposeful when I was throwing pots so I was more aware of my movements and choices. One interesting result of having been more purposeful as I was throwing was being able to identify where I would have problems with a pot in advance. I wasn’t always able to avoid them but I knew better for the next pot.
Improve Classes: I tried to improve class instruction and bring more interesting projects to the ceramics class. I enjoyed several of the theme classes that I developed and I feel that many were successful for me as an instructor. I realized that I am more energetic and focused when I share pots I love to make – I had a LOT more fun teaching the session on mugs compared to pitchers. An unforeseen consequence to developing structured class themes and projects is a lot more ideas. I have several classes and projects that I haven’t even used yet. This is good since I am often concerned about the projects feeling stagnant or uninspired.
Healthier: I was more conscientious about my back, neck, and sinuses. I elevated my wheel, which helps me sit upright. I was also more diligent about wearing a mask when I mixed glazes or scraped kiln shelves. I plan to be even more vigilant about that this year. I am glad that I set protecting my body as a goal because now I think about it with regularity as I am working in the studio.
Photography: I wanted to take better pictures of pots and keep a photo-journal of other things that inspired me during 2011. I may have underestimated the amount of effort that this goal requires. My camera died in July so I bought another point-and-shoot; and, I have been very good about carrying it with me so I did take more pictures of things that inspire me. I also organized some of those photos so I could find them when I need them. Although, photos of my pots are much better, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Drawing: I intended to work through a drawing book so I could make better use of my sketchbook. Sadly, I never even looked at the drawing book. I even set a time limit (a key to goal setting) but I didn’t sketch one stick person. Truth be told, this was a resolution that I set because I felt I should develop some drawing skills – sometimes, there is enough guilt in a ‘should’ to make me do the work but there is never enough passion in a ‘should’ for me to sustain the effort.
Blog: Two entries a week was the resolution. I was 90% successful – there were about 5 weeks that only had 1 entry. Sometimes I feel very uninspired which makes everything I write feel forced and unauthentic. And, other times, I have so many things I want to work out but I don’t have the time. Either way, if I hadn’t set a goal, I doubt I would have been very diligent and I feel like I have really benefitted from writing the blog.
So what’s next for 2012?