My letter to fear...
I originally wrote this blog post back in December 2015... no one followed me on Instagram back then (besides my mum- who am I kidding she didn't even follow me ;-), two and a half years worth of potting have past and this post seems even more relevant now than it did back then. Considering I am just about to embark on the biggest investment in my business since it's conception - namely building a new 117 square foot pottery studio in my back garden where I can hold pottery workshops and share my love of clay with real people, in the flesh... so I thought I'd rework this writing a bit and share it again - it may strike a cord with some of you on your own creative journeys...
Most of you will probably already know the writings of Elizabeth Gilbert. She has been a huge inspiration for me over the past 10 years. Although I don't profess to know much about literature, all I know is that whenever I read her work I am inspired and given renewed strength even when times are tough and big challenges lie ahead. Liz has faced humungous challenges in her life and work and has emerged wiser, more grounded and life-loving. If you haven't read her book, Big Magic I highly recommend you do. She talks about 'embracing our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear' via her understanding of creativity. The below is an ode to Gilbert's 'conversation with fear' in the book. Whilst I can only hope that in the coming months I am open enough and brave enough to allow fear to come along for the ride, what I know for sure is that I will never let it drive my car ;-)
A few times over this past 3 years of running my business, I have wanted to stay under the covers, "I am not coming out today, or tomorrow, or in fact ever again..." At times it all felt just too scary and seemed easier not to face the world, especially my world where (forgive me for sounding over dramatic) I have risked pretty much everything to start my own business - wait for it - as a potter! Perhaps, I thought (often!), it would be so much easier to just pack it all in and find a nice 'regular job' where I am paid on time/at all!; where there is no risk of silicosis (Potter's Lung), or back ache; where I'd have lovely painted finger nails and soft hands, holiday and sick pay and a nice fat pension. But then again, I reminded myself, that's not my dream. My dream is to have a life which I don't need a holiday from, not stuck behind a computer (although I do still spend a lot of time online); I want to do the real, dirty, hands-on creative work which I now know is the only thing that nurtures my soul. My dream is for a fire cracker of a life, I want to burn hard and bright, and not let fear be the emotion which makes any decisions for me.
I owe a lot to you Fear. You threw countless threats in the way: it's dangerous to follow my dreams; I may open the kiln to an explosion, or something will be stuck to the shelf; I won't make that deadline on that dinner set; isn't that teapot a bit small?; what if those pots arrive shattered to pieces; what if NO ONE likes my work?
But Fear, you didn't count on me reminding myself that these are small threats compared to what you throw at some people everyday. So, I want to say thank you Fear, thanks for those small fears, ones that only made me more determined, that showed me what I needed to overcome, teach me lessons I'll remember forever. I am sure we will meet many times in the months and years to come, but I plan to interpret your threats as mere twists and turns designed to make this journey all the more thrilling, terrifying, exciting beyond belief and... totally worth it.
Yours forever grateful
Kara Leigh x'
I also want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my lovely customers, friends and family who have supported me these past few years. I really am grateful beyond words for all of your orders (big and small), comments and likes; without you I would probably still be in an open plan office somewhere - not that there is anything wrong with open plan offices, of course!- they're just not for me. I'd probably still be making pots (I just cant help it ) but getting to share them with the world makes it feel a billion times better.
Quote taken from Big Magic, Bloomsbury, Liz Gilbert, 2015.
PS. If you enjoy my blog and found it helpful on your own pottery journey - I would be super grateful if you would take a moment to consider joining me on Patreon. My Patreon is a place where I share even more insights into my pottery world- lesson and learnings from my 15 Years of potting. I’d love to see you there!