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."
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.