Gone Fishin’

I know.  It’s a poor excuse for my vanishing act.

It’s summer time, so with that title you might picture me at the end of a dock, fishing pole dangling, enjoying the solitude.  Though if you’ve ever met me, that image would make you laugh out loud!  I’m actually in my natural weekday habitat — a noisy office, sitting in front of a computer screen, going about my day job.  It’s a job I love — Community Manager for an online small business community (OPENForum.com — check it out!), but as with most of us, full time employment can make creative pursuits (and start-up side businesses like


What was the wisest decision I made this year?  It’s not even a question.  The wisest decision I made this year was to take the 3D design class at SVA, rather than to take the graphic design class I had intended to take.

Here’s how it happened:  I had been doing more and more graphic design in my day job, partly because I really enjoyed doing it, but also because we didn’t really have the financial resources to hire a graphic designer every time we needed a new piece.  I’m not trained as a designer, although I’d taken a class years and years ago. I do think I have a pretty good instinct for design and certainly my skills have improved (as has my confidence) over the last few years because of the work I’ve been doing.  However, I also felt like I wasn’t getting any credit for the work because I “wasn’t a designer.”

With that in mind, I decided I should take a continuing ed graphic design class, since it would help my work and increase my knowledge.  So, one evening in May I found myself at the Graphic Design Information Session for the SVA Continuing Ed program.  The description of the evening said there would be an opportunity for portfolio review, so I brought samples of flyers I’d done, along with some pictures of my pottery, since I feel like my art work informs the way I design.  I felt it would be a good way to find out where I stood.

At the end of the presentation I spoke to Skip Sorvino about the graphic design program and showed him my work.  He suggested that I take his intermediate class.  I then went and spoke to Kevin O’Callaghan, (whose praises I’ve been singing here for a while now) because Kevin’s presentation was both compelling and entertaining.  When I showed Kevin my portfolio, he commented on my pottery, saying that I clearly had a talent for 3D design and that he thought I’d really like his class.  I chatted with him for a couple more minutes and went home.

I had walked into that evening KNOWING that I was going to sign up for a graphic design class.  I left, unable to decide whether I should stick with the plan or take the 3D class.  I kept waffling back and forth.  The graphic design class would help me at work and would make my design skills stronger.  It was what I’d intended to do and I should do it.  On the other hand, I simply couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities of the 3D class.  Back and forth, but always arriving at the thought that I really wanted to take the 3D class.  That it seemed like fun.  It seemed like the right class for me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I took the 3D class.  Not only was it the wisest decision of the year, it was a big turning point for me.  It allowed me to create work that I’m proud of and It has helped me change the way I look at what is possible.  It also reinforced for me that it’s much more important to listen to my inner voice, than to make decisions because of what other people think.  My layoff has also reinforced that I did the right thing, made a decision for my personal artistic growth, not what’s best for a job which I no longer have…

Below, images from my pottery “portfolio”

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Coming soon, images of work from my 3D design class..


This year I was incredibly fortunate to take a 3D Design Class at SVA with the amazing and inspiring Kevin O’Callaghan.  I learned so much in his class and I had classmates who were also inspiring and supportive of the work I was doing and wish to continue doing.  Kevin, along with “The Pants” (Kevin dubbed us the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) are a new community in my life and I’m so lucky to have them.  When I told Kevin that I’d been laid off, he didn’t skip a beat, merely told me that it meant I’d be able to spend time at the workshop now. Just what I needed to hear.

I also continue to appreciate the community of my pottery class.  The many talented artists with whom I spend each Friday night, are some of the kindest, most generous, and most hilarious people I know.  They’ve helped me through some crappy times and celebrated with me in good times.  My teacher, Matt Nolen, had a similar reaction to Kevin’s when he found out I’d been laid off.  He said, “Well, time to start focusing on your jewelry and pottery!” Yep, it’s true.

Tonight I had dinner with my friends Sarah and Jonathan.  We’ve started a conversation about world domination. Okay, not quite, but a plan for something really exciting for all of our futures.  I’m not ready to discuss the details just yet (that will come soon), but they are a community with whom I am excited to grow over the course of the next year and beyond.

People always talk about what a big city New York is and those who don’t live here wonder how those of us who do can stand to be around so many people all the time.  What they don’t understand is that as big as it is, New York is really just a a lot of small overlapping communities and neighborhoods that make up the whole. It’s one of the things I love so much about living here.  And it’s why I know that I’m in the right place.

#reverb10 – making my way to the new year…

I haven’t been posting here near enough and I’ve made a commitment to myself to start writing more regularly.  So, I have decided to participate in #reverb10, although I’m starting several days late.  #reverb10 is an online project to reflect on the year and manifest what’s in store for the next.  Since I was recently laid off from my day job, I now have the unique opportunity to focus on what comes next in my creative life.  While I will still need to find a new job, I can spend more time flexing my crafty muscles, making more jewelry, pottery, and my latest inspiration, lighting.

They (whoever they are) say that you should end your year doing what you wish to spend your next year doing. And since I wish to spend the next year building up my creative life and taking it to the next level, it seems apropos that the first #reverb10 prompt to which I’m responding, is:

12/6 – MAKE

Skull EarringsHere’s a picture of a work in progress. Skull earrings.  I’ll post what the finished product looks like when they are done.  They are made out of shrink plastic that I’ve covered with colored pencil and rubber stamped on the Skull image.  Once it’s shrunk to size, I edge it with silver leaf pen.  I’ll add beads and ear wires and they are good to go.  I guess they look a little Halloweenie, but I like the orange.  I may make them in other colors as well.

I need to make a bunch more things for the holiday sale I’m in at the West Side YMCA.  I’m working on a couple of ceramic lamp bases, and I also want to finish the chandelier that I started in my design class this summer.  Oh, I also have a bunch of holiday gifts I need to finish making.  Much more enjoyable than applying for jobs, but I do have to make sure I schedule time to do it all.

I’ll post more soon and may include responses to the previous prompts for the days I’ve already missed.