It seems unreal that 10 days ago I was just discovering that I had been accepted into an artist residency program in Indiana. I know this seems very sudden–because it is, so let me backtrack a bit. Since grabbing my Masters in Arts Administration in June of this year, I’ve been trying to figure out where I’m supposed to go next. I resolved not to apply for any juried exhibitions or group shows, so I could focus on figuring out where I’m headed with my studio work. Needless to say, I was still distracted by other things in life, so that plan didn’t really work the way I wanted.
Here’s the raw picture of these past 6 months: Life is really and truly good, but it doesn’t always seem that way when you’re knee deep struggles. After many job rejections, especially when you’ve invested incredible amounts of time making your cover letter, resume and portfolio looking as kick ass as possible, you start to doubt yourself. I don’t care who you are, it gets to you. Now, I’ve faced rejection before (should I pull out my stack of juried show letters?), but this time, it really got to me. So after accumulating some unwanted depression, I started thinking about what would really make me happy. Instead of focusing so much on my arts admin abilities, I decided to go back to my art and focus on my studio practice.
So, I applied for two artist residencies almost two months ago. Artist residencies offer time and space for artists to focus on a specific direction in their creative work. Many offer different benefits–accolades, stipend, housing, exhibition, etc., but these places exist all over the world. I narrowed my search by checking out ones that fit my timeline and budget, and I applied. I knew I wouldn’t hear from one until late in December (which I still haven’t heard from yet), but the other was a much smaller program in rural Indiana. I was surprised when I quickly heard from the director, Lenny Dowhie. The application was a two part process, so I submitted the info and waited. Timing is everything folks. I just finished up the quarter at SCAD, so if I were to resign, it would give my department more time to figure out how to proceed with my vacant position. Additionally, my husband will be taking his final, FINAL exams next week and graduating. Had I jumped on a job position earlier, would I have been doing what truly makes me happy? It would have interrupted my life and affected those around me in much different ways. #hindsight
So, that brings us to today. I’m sitting in my warm bedroom in New Harmony, Indiana, watching a fat little bird jump along the gutter of the roof. It’s below freezing outside, but this Southern girl is happier than she’s been in a long time. In the studio, I’ve made two teapots and four mugs in two days, and that’s saying a lot for how slowly I work. This residency only lasts for 3-4 months, so I’m squeezing as much as I can from each day. I made this initial trip to New Harmony to move in and sign paperwork, but I’ll be heading back to Savannah to pack up the rest of my home and finish working at SCAD for the next two weeks. My husband and I are planning to start fresh and sell or donate a lot of our things we’ve accumulated over the years. We’ll both be making the final move to Indiana during Christmas. Let the big adventure commence!
Mitzi Davis, ceramic artist and owner of MFWH
My Old Blog Still Exists!
Lots of ceramic arts techniques and processes that I use in my studio can be found in my old blog site. Click on the button below to head that way!