Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hard choices

Last month I applied for a scholarship to attend a workshop at Arrowmont. Shortly after applying, I learned that I had been invited to be on the firing crew for a great wood kiln in Oregon. The wood fire is scheduled for the same week as my second workshop choice. Two days ago I got a letter offering me a $500 scholarship for my second choice.

Going to Arrowmont will still cost me close to $1000. The workshop is a one week course on using clay "sketches" to refine ideas inspired by objects and images. I have no doubt that it will be a great experience. Getting the scholarship is a great compliment, and several people spent time writing me wonderful letters of recommendation (including a current Arrowmont resident). If I turn down this scholarship, I probably won't get another one. Of course I can always pay my own way.

The woodfire is one of the best anagamas in the state, and two of the crew are close family friends. New people are not always invited to participate, and if I turn down this opportunity, I may not be asked again. Getting involved in the local woodfire community is important to my future work.

After much agonizing and talking to several people, I've decided to stay and do the woodfire and turn down the scholarship. It sounds like a foolish choice on the surface, but I realized as I was talking to friends, I kept hoping they would give me reasons to choose the woodfire. I feel calm about my decision, and that makes me think it's the right choice for me at this time. There will be other workshops.

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