So. 'Will Run for Yarn' is the official blog for The Pottery Yarn, but so far, all you've seen are posts about running, yes? You could be forgiven for thinking that you're in the wrong place, but I assure you that you're not. I hope you'll stick around to find out why it's not the wrong place, as I connect the dots below. It may get a bit verbose.
See, I've wanted a pottery studio ever since my friend Maureen and I were out of work and bored and wondered into a community activity class. We were in our late 30s and probably young enough to be everyone else's granddaughters. I wasn't deterred, though. I had fallen in love with pottery when I was in girl scouts and Libby Moore used to come and do a pottery project with us each year. I so looked forward to it. That Thursday morning in the community center as I was handed a 2lb ball of clay I remembered the connection. I was once again hooked.
The idea of having a studio became a dream. My husband and I looked at moving, seeing if there was anywhere that would house a pottery studio for me as well as his grand piano. I went out to Pilling Pottery every Sunday afternoon in an attempt to learn to throw. I took art A levels at Blackpool and the Fylde college in an attempt to get a better eye for what I was doing.
Somewhere between then and now, I lost my mojo. Back in the 1990s I never doubted that I could do this, but in the new millennium, my confidence in my capabilities went on vacation. The more of a people-pleaser I became, the less I believed in what I could do. My art stalled. My weight ballooned. Panic attacks and bouts of despondency became the norm. The lower I felt, the more I ate.
Then, a couple of years ago when I was at my lowest, two things happened. I did a 100 Day Challenge with Stephen Bates (Google him, he does NLP and is an amazing life coach) and somewhere a switch flipped. Life started to become fun again. I was just coming out of my funk when I met a local artist named Jackie. She took me under her wing, got me going with the ceramics professor at Eastern University, and I found new friends, and a renewed sense of purpose.
I've never been athletic. I've never had aspirations to run marathons or lift weights, but when I got the news that my blood sugar was on the rise, I knew that it was time to take action. I started watching what I ate, I started taking control of my life, and I started trying to run. I completed my first 5k. Now, if I could do this, what else could I accomplish?
I still had times when I wanted to retreat into my shell and self-medicate with potato products of some description. I still doubted what the hell I was doing—me—trying to run. I also doubted that I could run a business, that my dream of my own pottery studio would ever be a reality. I think even after we acquired the barn, I spent about 3 months trying to convince my husband to make it into his music studio!
However, as my 5k time started to improve and my weight started to decrease, I started to feel more alive, more empowered. I set goals; one of the reasons this blog is called 'Will Run for Yarn' is because my friend Carla joked that—in order to curb my yarn-buying habit, I should have to run 5ks for every purchase I made. Joke it was, but it also gave me a sense of purpose.
So, why run for yarn? Why not run for clay? Well, for one reason, yarn is much more inspiring than a lump of mud. Another reason is that I've been knitting since I was in grade school; I can take my knitting with me wherever I go, which can't be said for clay. I also 'knit' the clay, too, to get interesting textures and designs. It's all connected. It all works.
That pretty well brings us up to date. Summer school is out, my pottery professor has retired, the barn is next to the garage and will be a working studio by the end of this month. With every mile that I ran, with every pound that I lost, I believed in myself more and more. Sure I still have my moments (hello—12th house Virgo here), I still whine to my besties and my husband, but for the most part, I'm on track. I'm opening the studio on my birthday; what better way to launch another trip around the Sun.
I hope you stuck around for this (rather lengthy) explanation of why my pottery blog has been full of running stories. The reason is simply this: Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can't, you're right. It seems I needed another goal, to prove to myself that I could do that, before I finally believed that I could have a pottery studio, and truly be a potter.