New Year, New Me

New Year, New Me

It’s that time of year where people start saying things like new year, new me. My motto for the coming year is new year, real me. I don’t need a new me, I want to lean into the me that’s already here. 

Back in November, I was leafing through some old sketchbooks and on one page I had written “11/14/13 - I want to decorate pieces with screen printed underglaze transfers and paper resist elements.” I looked at that and said yes I still want to do that. I really want to do that. Then I said to myself THAT WAS 10 YEARS AGO! Do this NOW! Don’t wait another ten years. 

I went to work right away drawing, burning screens, and screen printing blends of colors, but in all honesty I wasn’t going to decorate pots. I am great at procrastinating getting ready to do the thing, but not actually doing the thing. But then my brother, Bobby, who works with me in the studio accidentally cast double the amount of plates we needed! I was so annoyed, I didn’t have time for this in November. What was I going to do with all those plates?

A little voice in my head said you are going to decorate them with screen printed underglaze transfers and paper resist elements. Then I said to myself fine, I will do it, but only for fun. I’m not selling these. (Sometimes, well I’m not going to lie, a lot of the time, I put too much pressure on myself to make things to sell.)

This weirdly unexpected thing happened: I had fun. I had SO much fun, the same amount of fun I used to have when I started ceramics. All I wanted to do was make this new work. The possibilities were endless with patterns and colors and the way the paper is cut and arranged on each piece.

I was sitting there working on a piece and it was as if all the pieces fell into place, like everything I had learned and worked for came into hyperfocus. I love the decaying look of old things, and the peeling away of image transfers left a peeling paint effect. It also harkened back to when I was 19 and apprenticed for Tom Kendall and spent hours peeling off paper cut outs that he had applied to pieces to create resist patterns. The brighter colors reminded me of my childhood growing up in the 80s and 90s where the more color the better. The color blends reminded me of all the time I spent when I was 24 spraying color combinations for Michael Kifer.


I went into the other room to print some more images and was telling Bobby how cool this work is, how enamored I am with the whole process. I just couldn’t stop talking about it and he said I think you found your purpose. I froze because I did too, but I felt like I couldn’t admit it or the magic would vaporize and be gone forever.

I need to pause this story and up back here for a moment. 

In April I went to Mexico with Joe, my spouse. I told him I could do only one thing on that entire trip it would be to go to the Mayan ruins. That’s all I wanted, that’s all 12 year old Heidi wanted and I was determined to oblige her. 

We booked a tour and we were off. I’m not going to lie it was a long day, like a 16 hour long day but I didn’t care. I wanted to go to the ruins, I wanted to jump into a cenote, I wanted to eat Mayan food.

It’s funny how the things you plan and the moments that change your life can be so different.

The day we traveled to Chichen Itza it was 104. I was slightly hungover and tired. The bus was crowded and hot and I wanted to sleep but I was mesmerized by our tour guide and the scenery so I stayed awake.

The tour guide, whose name I have forgotten, but lives on in my photos of that day was great. He had a dry sense of humor, was really smart, and loved being a Mayan. You could tell by the way he spoke about the Mayan people that he felt an immense honor is being a Mayan and I was taken in. As he spoke about the Mayan calendar and the intelligence of the Mayan people, he stopped and said very seriously there are two days that are scared to the Mayans the day your are born and the day you figure out your purpose in life. He told us without missing a beat, his purpose in life was to educate people about Mayan culture.

my favorite tour guide at chichen itza

I don’t think most people were paying attention, but I couldn’t’ stop thinking about what he had said. Do you ever have those moments where it feels like time slows down and everything comes into focus? That’s what happened on that bus. I didn’t know my purpose. What the hell was my purpose? How I am supposed to figure that out?

But then like when you notice a certain car and you start seeing it everywhere, all I noticed were people talking about their purpose, articles saying find your purpose, purpose, purpose, purpose.

I went to Walmart to buy a router and ended up buying a TV for my parents. As the very friendly sales clerk was ringing me up, he told me about this mom who had recently died, and her life purpose was to be a teacher and he knew that because after she died so many people talked about how she was their favorite teacher and inspired them. 

But how did she know? How did she figure it out? To find out what my purpose was seemed impossible.

Completely and utterly confused, I took a pink post-it not and wrote on it in all caps FIND YOUR PURPOSE and stuck it next to my keyboard in my office. Maybe, I thought, a quick Google search would tell me what my purpose was in this life. Sadly, my search did not procure my desired results and so the note sat there for half a year gathering dust.

Now we unpause the story.

It seems the magic started when I stopped trying and I know how that sounds. I don’t mean I gave up, I did the opposite of giving up. I usually only go so far, get uncomfortable, and quit. Then I can say well, at least I tried, but did I? Did I really try? I create unnecessary obstacles to block the path of least resistance or as Bobby says I self sabotage.

And I’m done with that. I know I did that because I thought it was protecting me, protecting me from uncomfortable feelings, but at this stage I would rather deal with the uncomfortable feelings than give up on myself.

With these new screen printed pieces I want to try, I really want to give it my all. This is my purpose.

That means it’s time to say good-bye to some old pottery, but not in a viscous way, not in a way that says gosh, I hate this piece or I can’t believe I made this! But in a way that celebrates them. I can see clearly now how each piece has lead me to this point and I am honored to have had them accompany me on this path of creative evolution and discovery. 

P.S. I did thank Bobby for casting too many plates. It was the unplanned nudge I needed.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.