Scientist Discovers She’s also an Artist

"I became a skilled ceramicist; I learned to weld, mix glazes and sculpt. And I provided a nourishing community of emotional and creative support to my family. I was proud of myself again, as an accomplished adult and as a mom."

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With a great new job, I relocated with my daughter to Indianapolis 8 years ago. We both built a life, bought house and settled in. We were not expecting any more changes, but soon there was a shift in federal funding, causing drastic cuts in the environmental science, sustainability & public administration field. Everything I thought about unemployed people and those who work harder was about to turn upside down. 

Soon I was unemployed and it lasted for a long time. I was stuck. I spent months trying to find work. It exhausted me. It was humbling. It was futile, I was grossly overqualified for most jobs. 

I could not move us again. I had a Master’s Degree and a killer resume, but I was a single mom and my financial resources were dwindling. I was also slowly isolating myself from professional and social contacts and had no idea how depressed I was. I was feeling defeated in my career but even more so as a parent. 

A friend suggested I try a ceramics class at the Indianapolis Art Center, but it cost $400 to take a class and there was no way I could make time for such a luxury. To me, art was a hobby and the last time I’d taken a class was fifteen years ago. I needed a job first or else how could I afford tuition and supplies? 

I signed up anyway. Nervous that the fifteen year break meant starting over, I persisted. I had a very kind instructor and the people in my class had been coming to his classes for more than a decade. They were a community.  

They had meals. They talked about life. They had jobs, marriages, failures, joys and more. They were older. They were diverse in political views. They were artists! 

I applied for a scholarship and was able to take a few more classes. I stopped letting my pursuit for jobs consume my time and made time for my skill development instead. I even signed my daughter up for her own classes. She thrived too. 

People became dear friends to me and I found hours of therapeutic creativity. I worked through frustrations and fears in ways I hadn’t imagined, having conversations about life with a wide range of artists. Even the professional level potters would stop their activity and help me, if they noticed I needed help. I’d never seen such warmth among colleagues. 

What happened over the five years I spent building my ceramic skills was transformative. I became a skilled ceramicist; I learned to weld, mix glazes and sculpt. And I provided a nourishing community of emotional and creative support to my family. I was proud of myself again, as an accomplished adult and as a mom. 

In the end, I found my vital community and my creative voice. I’ve changed careers and I now work as a personal chef, but I continue my work and play at the Art Center. After all, I am an Artist! 

I am forever grateful for this place and for those whose donations made it possible for me to get started on my journey to discover who I am.

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  • commented 2017-07-26 22:00:02 -0400
    I can relate to your story on many levels. I started taking jewelry/metalsmithing classes 6 months after the death of my husband of 39 years. I was always drawn to the arts and have always had a vein of creativity pulsing through me. The first class I took was very therapeutic for me. I could lose myself in the feel and movement if the metal and not think if anything else in my life. Now, after two full years of classes, I feel very much a part of the community of the Indianapolis Art Center. I’ve meet wonderful men and women who are supportive of each other and forthcoming with their friendship and helpfulness. Being apart of the IAC community had made a very big impact on my life and I am ever grateful. What a difference IAC has made in my life!