Welcome 2012!  A fresh new year, full of possibilities.

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?