Dear Greenbridge Family & Friends,
This has been an amazing year already.
When I was 16, I made my first pot and quickly decided I had found my life work. Now, 41 years later, at age 57, I find the years getting shorter and time moving faster. So this January, after the usual wonderful but intense holiday season, I decided to take some serious time off from the studio to take a deep look in the mirror and decided that I wanted this year to be different, deliberate & defining.
I asked myself, "How could I leverage what I have already done & what I've already learned to make the most of the rest of my life?"
I realized that while productive in many ways, last year was also a very challenging year for me professionally & personally. Without going into a lot of gory detail, by late last summer, I became intensely frustrated, depressed and felt like I was drowning. It was a shock to realize this, given that I have always been a naturally very cheerful positive person. Fortunately for me, I have been blessed with remarkably sensitive & insightful friends, particularly Lori & Bine, who will compassionately tell me like they see it. With their help, I saw how serious my situation was, realized that I had to change the way I was doing life, and seek professional help.
Here I have to stop and thank all those customers who patiently waited and may STILL be waiting, for extraordinarily long periods to get their orders completed while I have been working at getting a grip personally & reorganizing the way we run the pottery. Also fortunately, I have been blessed with customers who value the art we do here so much that you have told me that "good art takes time" and "good art is worth waiting for". Bless you all. I can't tell you how much you are appreciated & loved!
So, I came to the conclusion that what I had to do was to retool my life & my work in order to find balance & health. I concluded that in order to accomplish those things, I had to prioritize
(1) growing, walking closer & listening to God
(2) taking care of myself - eat better, exercise more & learn how to rest !
(grab the oxygen mask yourself first!)
(3) recommit to strengthening my closest relationships.
I also realized it was crucial for me to
(4) learn when & how to say "NO" to things & people when wise & appropriate and that I must
(5) find ways of working smarter & not harder in the pottery and that in order to make more of a difference in the world I would need to reorder my own inner world first. Easier said than done but ... it has begun.
Different, how? Diet - moving closer and closer to primarily plant based intake. Exercise - studio cycling 2-3 times per week, yoga several times a week for flexibility & focus, and walking the dogs & myself (running down the hill in the backyard with my arms flung wide like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. Go ahead & laugh but believe me it is GOOD medicine ! ).
Deliberate, how? Being increasingly selective & mindful as a habit. Carefully making choices instead of being blown around by circumstances and other people's agendas. Choosing what pots to make instead of just making pots to make pots. Knowing that when we fire pottery to over 2100oF that anything we make is so impervious to weathering & time it is likely to outlast our own civilization is very sobering and must be seen as a serious responsibility. So, this year we have recommitted to concentrate on quality, mindfulness & fun in our production. At Greenbridge, we will choose excellence and strive only to make pots which spring from glad & joyful hearts.
Defining, how? For the first time in many years, we have added a full-time employee to our part-time crew of workers, the awesome & talented Patty Berry, BFA graduate of Maryland Institute of Art in Environmental Design & former carpenter & forewoman for Habitat for Humanity. Patty has been my apprentice for about 2 years now and during that time has proven not only her artistic abilities & strengths but demonstrated perseverance & strength of character. Since Patty has joined us full-time at the beginning of March 2012, we have more than doubled our production levels per week and had a heck of a lot of fun doing it. We were also blessed to get a "two-fer" when we hired Patty, who came with an awesomely strong (enjoys moving 1000 lb rocks around the yard) & kindhearted husband, Chad Berry, who also loves us, the pottery & the work we do to make a difference in this world. Yeehah win-win !!
Of incalculable value, have also been the patient efforts & care of Lori Taylor whose quietly faithful servant spirit has made a world of difference in helping to create order out of chaos in the studio, the garden and my mind & heart.
So thank you all, studio crew Bine, Nick, & Susan, pottery friends & family, who have continued to hang in there with me, especially my beloved, smart & manly-masculine long-suffering husband, Evan and loving daughter Rose, who have patiently endured my quirks & issues, loved the art and work we do, and continued to support & partner with us as we work to create positive change in the world by spreading peace, love & pottery!
By the way, for all those who have been asking, we have found our part-time office assistant in the experienced, organized & skilled administrative abilities of local quilter & Greenbridge & other pottery lover, Ray Hill (YAY!!!), so for now, that position is no longer available.
However, we could still use a short term subcontractor who is skilled in FACEBOOK administration. We are interested in leveraging our presence on FB, particularly in creating links to our website pages and mechanisms for allowing customers to post photos of the Greenbridgewares in their homes to our FB page and to our own website. So please do contact us via email if you have an interest & skills in this area!!
Gratefully, always your friend & personal potter,
Becky of Greenbridge