Monday, January 4, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some

I applied for a grant, and was disappointed to learn that I did not get it. I had a pretty good chance as about 1/3 of all applicants who apply get them. I thought mine was well written, compelling with good photos and recommendations.

Grants are great, but as anyone who has applied for one knows, they are a LOT of work. To add insult to injury, the only notification was a PDF posted on the website of the winners. Us poor losers did not even get the courtesy of a letter tell us we did not get it. Whatever I did was clearly not compelling enough so of course, I called to find out what I could improve for next go round. Left a message and did not get a call back. Still not sure what to do better next time.

Lesson: artists, like professionals in any discipline, need thick skin. Before pursuing pottery full time last year, I spent 25 years working corporately. So much of what I learned then applies now, but perhaps the biggest lesson is to not take things personally. With art, or any endeavor in which you invest so much of your heart and soul, rejection feels personal. With so much invested, the lows are much lower, but the highs...SO much higher.

-------fast forward to last Tuesday. A wonderful friend and unbelievably talented potter I apprenticed to many years ago came over with her husband and grandson. We drank out of mugs I made, but I did not tell her that I had made them. She held it, looked at it, felt the weight of it and said, "did you make this?"

"I did," I replied.

Then she said, "It's a great mug."

All disappointment and doubt left me. Someone whose opinion I valued understood everything I was trying to do with the pot - from its glaze, handle, weight, shape and proportion.

I hope I get the grant next year. I could really use that $1200 slab roller for a number of things I want to do... but I ended up with the bigger win.

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