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I love hearing stories of reinvention. Here are some of my favorite ones,
as well as thoughts on mental health and wellness. 


At a point in my life where I was feeling very stuck, a friend suggested I join her pottery class. That class became a turning point for me. It began to shift my energy to a place where I was able to move forward in my life. It led to me getting my master’s in clinical psychology and becoming a therapist. In the pottery studio, I found a community that supported and encouraged me, where I could laugh and create. It gave me badly needed self-esteem, when mine was low. It showed me how creativity and mental health are linked by teaching me to let go of expectations, and be present to what was in front of me and itt taught me to find the beauty in the imperfect. Because of this experience I often suggest to creatives who are feeling blocked to try working on a project in another medium, to see if approaching their creative process from a new angle will help open something up and get things moving again.

In my first class, seated at a long table of people working on hand building, I made a pinch pot. Every step of the way other people were helping me, telling me how well I was doing, that I was a natural, giving me pointers, and my pinch pot was looking pretty good. I was happy. When it finally came out of the kiln, I was so excited to see my pretty pale lavender pot. Instead, this crooked, shrunken, sickly pale gray thing came out. I was devastated. Someone walking past saw my face and shrugged “it’s only clay, make another one”. I soon learned that many things go wrong in the process of making pottery, things break or crack, colors shift. To be a potter means learning to love the process of making pottery and letting go of your expectations for how it turns out. The woman who said this to me had spent six months working on a piece, a very detailed Chinese dragon, only to have another piece fall on it in the final kiln and break it. It reminded me of Buddhist monks who make intricate drawings in the sand only to erase them afterwards.

Throwing is a very meditative process. You really need to feel the clay and breathe with it. It’s very grounding because you genuinely have the earth in your hands. To center the clay and pull it up, you must focus solely on it, or it will become wobbly and collapse. If you are having an absentminded kind of a day, it will show up in the clay. Once on a day like that, I was working on a piece when it started to collapse. I stopped my wheel, thinking it was ruined and several women started saying “Don’t stop, you can save it, Wabi Sabi!” Wabi Sabi is a Japanese term for finding the beauty in the imperfect, and it became a mantra of the studio. I was able to save it and it became one of my favorite beautiful mistakes.

Over time, these lessons began to spill over into my life. When things didn’t go as planned, I could more easily pivot or shrug it off. I started looking for the beauty or the lesson in what happened. I became more present to what I was feeling and began to stop measuring myself against other people, and I stopped feeling that I ‘should’ be at a certain place in my life. I began to realize what I wanted and needed in my life, and slowly, I was able to build it.

I will be forever grateful to my friend who suggested the class and I treasure my time in the studio, where I feel the love, support, and laughter of my community there. I still feel stuck occasionally, but then I take it into the studio and assign myself to make something I haven’t ever done before, unafraid of failure, because after all, ‘it’s only clay’.

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Updated: Feb 22

Back in July, I was invited to be a guest on Beyond Artist Block a therapy podcast by Rachel Moore LMFT, to talk about a group I created called Ageism and the Creative Professional. I then asked Alyce Waxman, who co-facilitated and co-developed the group with me, to join us. Initially, because I was terrified to do it alone, but really it was because I love Alyce who is so smart and funny and wise.

We started out the podcast by talking about what is ageism and how it is the last acceptable “ism”. Ageism disproportionally effects the creative fields. For many mid-life creatives it’s a slow career death, with jobs coming in less and less. As the jobs ebb away, you can feel less relevant, a sense of shame and/or a loss of identity.

We talked about the importance of community for everyone but especially for creatives. Creatives need to be seen; their art needs an audience for it to have meaning. As Alyce puts it “…One of the things that’s so important about being a creative is that, like, supercharged moment when one creative connects with another creative”.

And… we talked about how much we loved our group! The group really supported and mentored each other in a beautiful way. We had a real mix of creative disciplines including writing, acting, painting, and creative direction. Our members felt inspired to start new projects and finish old projects and even shared projects with us in session. We talked about how the creative process and making art contributes to our sense of self and well-being, and I think everyone felt a little less alone in the world. We hope to be starting it up again in 2024 and will put the word out when we do.

And lastly, I ended by saying “For me it’s about always finding your truth as an artist and staying in touch with who you are because that will always bear fruit, you will always, if you connect with yourself, connect to other people”.

BeyWhat is Ageism
What is Ageism

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Kate Orne is someone I have great admiration for. She is a Swede with an exuberance that is hard not to get caught up in. The summer posts of her daily swims in nearby lakes featuring her bright orange swimsuit makes me long for the water. Kate is the creator, publisher and Creative Director-in-Chief of Upstate Diary, an online and print magazine. Previously, Kate was a successful photographer in New York City, shooting for fashion magazines worldwide. When Kate moved upstate NY in 2009, longing to be closer to nature, she sensed her future would entail something that wouldn't require her to drive back and forth to the city, nor was shooting fashion in a rapidly changing business still stimulating. For the next four years, Kate mulled over projects when the idea came; she would start featuring artists and creators with lifestyles close to nature — just like her— in a magazine to inspire others about this meaningful lifestyle.

In 2015, Kate launched Upstate Diary. What began as a blog soon became a beautifully printed biannual publication, now sold in great shops from New York to Tokyo. Kate used her years of experience and network working with magazines as a fashion editor and later as a photographer to make a midlife pivot. Even though starting a new business is arduous work, she attributes part of her success to luck, saying that "opportunity happens when you go for it" and "for the first time in my life, I'm in control. Nobody is telling me what or how to do things."

To learn more, visit @upstate_diary.

Photo of Kate by @jmontbarron

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