010 – What Are You Most Proud Of?

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MudTalk Podcast - Pottery, Ceramics, Business
010 - What Are You Most Proud Of?


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what are you most proud of


Episode 10! We made it to the double digits! When I started this podcast I wasn’t even sure I would do a second episode, much less put together 10 so I feel like this is a small accomplishment. Thanks so much for subscribing, downloading and listening. And thanks to those of you who have sent in a message!

In this episode we are going to hear about what you are most proud of as a potter or ceramic artist. There were a nice variety of answers, some that I hadn’t even considered. First we’ll hear from those that are proud of their progress and learning, then from those who take pride in their finished work. We will also hear a few responses about starting a business or making the “leap” and then the rest of the things that people are proud of. At the end I’ll share a couple of my favorite responses and tell a little bit about what I take pride in.

Let’s start with the folks who are proud of their progress and learning.

Progress and Learning

Mgwalsho  I’m most proud of my learning. I am a brand new Potter and I’m proud of how fast I have learned. I also am proud of my creative glaze techniques and how fast I can produce a quality piece of art.

Artbygretamichelle How far I’ve come and how much I’ve learnt in such a short time. I started in 2012, moving from painting to clay. Now I work with porcelain and soda fire in the kiln I converted myself.

Pineapple.pottery Being self taught comes with a LOT of mistakes and a steep learning curve, and I’m just at the beginning but am proud I have just kept looking forward!

Claybylaura I’m pleased that the learning never stops. As a potter, there is always something new — a technique, glaze combination or shape to try.

Leka_visualartist I am proud (to) keep learning after 21 years of study

Winesellersgirl I learned how to make a plate!!

Muddyduckpottery Taking risks, learning from failures and mistakes, being able to dust off and try again.

Ceramicsbyjames People are starting to become impressed with my work before they realize my age.

Bluelizardman21 I just started lessons (almost age 65) and my first pot was a rush! Loving learning this physical art form!

Sunshine0902 Tried throwing on the wheel for first time last year and since then i am in love with it. Bought wheel , clay and tools and i have to say this is my calling i feel natural making pots and i am proud of my ability to create something beautiful from mud ?

Lynn F T How far I’ve come…

Kerry D My progress from throwing to glazing! Still so much to learn and loving it! ?

I love the enthusiasm and energy of people that are learning something new. Now let’s hear about those who are most proud of their finished work.

Finished Work

Potterybyyvonne I’m not sure it is one piece of pottery. I make my own line of work, but I also work with customers to create their perfect piece. I get great satisfaction out of creating that perfect mug, lotion bottle, bowl, or dog dish that make people smile each day they use it.

Thordargreybeard Of making things that will last, that may one day be items displayed in my children’s homes.

Haiybai making my biggest project yet :)).. took me 3 entire weeks just to make the slabs ??

Matkipottery I love how happy a good piece makes me feel! But I’m most proud of the pieces that others have loved….

There were a few responses about starting or continuing a pottery business. I referenced “making the leap” earlier which, to me, means quitting your “normal” job to pursue a creative career like working with clay.

Business or “Making the Leap”

_avonlea__ Leaving my retail job and getting a new job as tech at portland community college for the ceramic department. As well as becoming an apprentice.

Octopusceramics I’m proud that I’m setting up my own pottery business at such a young age, and that I’ve been able to achieve over 7,000 followers on Instagram in less than 200 days!

Sallyannesadler Opening a studio at 53.

Art.craft.home I’m most proud of the 5 year plan that turned into 10 years but resulted in the building of my very own studio.

Mimiepoterie Of rerouting my life and becoming who I always aspired to be. I feel so happy and complete when I create clay forms.

Earthartam Just entered my 18th year supporting myself with my pottery. Lucky and blessed!

Avrilsartworks Learning how to survive on very little ??

Benjamin W Making a living as a studio artist, 16 years of hard work and struggle along with a ton of perseverance.

And now we’ll hear some other things that people are proud of that don’t quite fit into the other categories.

Other Things to Be Proud Of

Marianwilliamspottery Most proud? Maybe my passion to keep trying, learning, making, working,creating and loving it so.

Bhugs11 Trying … and not getting upset when a loved piece breaks. ?

Laurielandrypottery Kohler inviting me to exhibit.

Studiobri The fact that I can give back. Art Therapy in the studio is gratifying. ?

Dtaylorsatm Just as applause is exciting for an actor, I love these words when sharing my pottery creations, “Oh, I love that, how much?”

Lazarito_64 Been able to make vases on the wheel. ☺

Theclayrabbit My proudest day was two days ago when I revisited a gallery that has some of my work, I took a selection of new work in a big box ? incase he wanted to see and the lovely guy said ‘Can I have ALL of them?’ X 11 Sculptures ? yes, my proudest day so far ??????

CJniehaus I’m most grateful for evolving and making those changes through clay. I’ve been in clay for many years, but I was stuck for a while in my ideas, thoughts and practices. As a non traditional MFA student, I was able to see more possibilities and grow in ways I couldn’t do on my own. I’m not quite to my destination yet, but I’m excited by the glimpses I see as I move forward!

Thekingandtheflower I am happy to have found a woman that I can share my love for clay with, and I am especially proud of watching her grow as an artist. She constantly steps out of her comfort zone to expand her skills at my encouragement while at the same she challenges me when I’m not doing the best I can. She keeps me honest in my art, making sure I’m not being lazy or sloppy, encouraging me to be diligent with my talent.

_lizi_lu The commitment. …………………It’s like being an athlete. You could be naturally inclined to something, good at it, but even that natural athlete has to practice their sport. And I’m proud of all the practice I put into pottery.

Alison.skate.pots I have not started selling my pots yet. A few years ago, when my daughters were 10yrs and 13yrs old and wanted more pocket money, I helped them create a ceramic business selling Christmas baubles, which they made throughout the year in our garage. For 3 years they sold out (to customers in Australia and overseas) and made themselves a very nifty 5 grand each year. They then donated some of the proceeds to The Hunger Project. I was pretty proud of that. Being teens, they’ve moved on to other interests now.

Marcia G-K Taking criticism from my teacher seriously. That’s often hard to do, but so worth it in the long run.

Martha H Ceramic Artist! I feel potters are always making the same things but a ceramic porcelain artist uses the clay like a painter uses a brush …

Cathy G I’m proud I am able to listen,see, hear ideas from magazines,books,galleries,fellow students,Pinterest and then absorb and process it into creations of my own ideas that are not copies of another’s, but truly my own.


These last few responses were some of my personal favorites.

L Mosley pots still making pots – 50 years now

Even though this response is only 6 words, I think it is pretty powerful. 5 decades! The thing I like about this response is that it could be about any of us eventually. No matter if you make pots full time to put food on the table or if you only get to it every other weekend or when you sign up for a class. I was recently talking to Dick Lehman about someone he knows that is retiring and I asked him if he would ever retire from making pots. Basically, he said that making pots is what he loves to do and there isn’t anything else he wants to try that would require him to stop making pots. In this stage of his career his schedule can be more flexible so if he wants to take a week-long trip or pursue other interests for a little while, he can. And being a potter allows him to pursue other interests such as photography and writing. I think one of the great things about pottery is there is always something new to try or learn. It’s not something that you’ll completely figure out and be finished with. So if our health allows us, we can keep making pots for decades.

Kt_ceramics I am so proud of learning how to throw. I am still learning (can’t seem to get even walls up yet) but the fact that I am able to center a hunk of clay on a moving disk is so amazing to me. Never before did I think I will be able to do that. And I’ve fallen in love with it. I’m also proud of being able to glaze. That is by far THE coolest thing I’ve done as an artist. I am so excited to continue to learn more about ceramics!

Kt Ceramics, I’m proud of you too. It is awesome to hear about people that are excited about learning new things and have a passion for clay. I agree that centering clay on a spinning disk is pretty amazing. And I’m also proud of all the things I’ve learned while working with clay. Even though I’ll never finish learning everything about pottery I’m excited to learn as much as I can. It is also great to see great responses  from so many different potters including the 50 year veterans and the beginners as well.

Our last response is from:

ChristineCherry_ I’m proud that after 30 years in primary teaching I’ve taken the big risk and left education to start making my own pottery. My journey (so) far has been a big (but exciting) learning curve.

Christine, I really appreciate this response on a personal level. In the next few years I hope to do something similar. When both of my kids are in school and if my wife gets another teaching job I hope to leave my teaching position and make pots full time. In my situation I don’t feel the risk is as large as other people have taken. We have been living on mostly my teacher’s salary for a few years. So even if I don’t sell a single pot we should be okay with my wife’s paycheck. And over the past few years I’ve been selling at local shows, figuring things out, and building a small following so when I go full time I won’t be starting from nothing. I applaud those of you who DO take much bigger risks to pursue your passion. Especially if it is something that requires as much work as making pots.

As for my own achievements, I am proud of many things. Like many of you, I’m proud of how much I’ve improved. I’ve also won a few small awards which are great encouragement to keep growing and a boost to my self esteem. I’m proud of the websites I’ve created and this podcast that I’ve started. Not so much that I think it is really good, but because it was something outside my comfort zone and challenged me in a new way. I think I’m most proud of the quality of work that I’m making now. I’ve started to develop a little bit of a personal style and I have started to develop some details in my work that I really like. I wouldn’t say that my pots are the best ever but they have reached a level that makes me feel good to put them out into the world.

I was trying to think of something useful to share, some kind of action step. I’ll share two ideas that fit well with the theme of this episode. First, remember how far you’ve come. One way I do this is to set aside one of my pots once in a while to track my progress. I keep a pot in my studio which I made in college when I was first learning. It is terrible. It is about the size and shape of a softball with a sharp-edged handle and a tiny pouring spout, not even a spout, just a place where I turned out the rim. It weighs about 5 pounds and the glaze ran down onto the shelf so it got all chipped and cracked when it was removed. If I ever feel like I’m in a slump or I start to doubt my work I look at that pot. It helps me realize that I’ve already made a lot of progress and know that I can make more progress in the future.

Another tip I would suggest is to keep track of these proud moments. Whenever you accomplish something or win an award or reach a milestone or participate in an event, make a note of it. Not only will it be a great source of encouragement and celebration, it also makes putting together a resume a lot easier. You may think to yourself, what will I ever need a resume for? And you may never actually need one. But someday you may need one to submit work to a show or event or join a group or even apply to a job that comes along. It also makes you look professional if you keep an updated version on your website. If people know you are serious about making pots it will probably increase the chances that they will do business with you.

That’s all I have for this episode.
And now that we’ve finished 10 episodes I guess we’ll shoot for 10 more. On most of the other podcasts I listen to, the hosts are always telling their listeners to leave a rating and review. Apparently this helps other people find the show on itunes and stitcher and everywhere else. So if you want to go do that, that would be amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever done it myself but it probably isn’t that hard. If you would rather do something else to help the show you could share a link with someone you think may enjoy listening. You can find links to episodes on the Expert Clay social media accounts and share them easily. And don’t forget, YOU can be a part of the show. Go to expertclay.com/mtp to share your own thoughts or stories and you may hear them on a future episode.

In episode 11 we’ll hear your stories about meeting other potters. So, until then, take pride in what you do and stay muddy.

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