Get a Hobby

I’ve been cranking out cards and paper products for Wit & Whistle for almost 8 years. 8 YEARS. At this point, running Wit & Whistle feels like work. It’s work I absolutely love doing, but it’s still work. Deadlines, payroll, invoicing, marketing, customer service, accounting, shipping… you get the gist. There are a lot of non-creative aspects of running a creative business.

The time I get to spend coming up with new products has been enough to satisfy my creative urges for a long time, but lately I’ve needed a new challenge. Something fresh, fun, and creative that isn’t work related.

Thanks to my Cary Arts Center pottery studio pass, I’ve been regularly playing with clay. The ability to switch between pen and ink and clay is flexing my creativity in new ways, and I’m having a blast with it. When I grab my sketchbook and get back to work after a clay break, I feel refreshed and inspiration seems to strike so effortlessly. Who knew investing time in an unrelated hobby would benefit my business?

I’m not an amazing potter, but I don’t suck as badly as I did in the beginning! I feel like I have good ideas but still lack the technical skills to make what I’m envisioning. Sometimes my pottery turns out exactly like I planned though, like this little pencil cup dude…

wit & whistle pottery hobby

…these plates…

wit & whistle pottery hobby

…and this mug.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

Other times the glaze turns out splotchy and weird for no apparent reason, like these three dud mugs.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

I loved the way my happy cactus spoon rest looked until I glazed it. Now, not so much. It’s a learning process.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

On the other hand my studded, speckled planter turned out just right. I see more planters in my future.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

wit & whistle pottery hobby

Do those of you who do creative work find that you also need a creative outlet on the side? If so, is your hobby completely different than your work or is it similar?

15 comments

  1. Yuko Miki

    Hi Amanda!
    I LOVE your work so much and learn so much from you as a fellow greeting card designer/artist :) so thank you!

    This post totally resonated with me as I just started taking a pottery class myself because I needed a creative outlet that was not related to my work… It’s nice to be doing something with my hand, and I still get to draw and create something beautiful but it’s for ME. I’m not trying to make money. It doesn’t matter if it sucks (although I do get sad when my pottery doesn’t turn out as pretty as I’d hoped!) I also started embroidering and it’s nice, too. I naturally have the “shiny object syndrome” where I think”Ohh, maybe this could be my job! maybe I could sell this!” but I need to pause and remind myself that’s a really bad idea :D maybe down the road if I really like it and become really good at it, perhaps… but I like doing something creative that’s separate from my money-making work.

    I love all of your pottery work, too :) So cute!! Keep creating awesome things, Amanda :)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks so much Yuko! I’m the same way—I constantly have to remind myself not to try to turn everything into a product to sell. Not saying I’ll never sell my pottery, but I’d have to get a lot better at it first! ;)

    2. kate

      “Shiny Object Syndrome”. Good to know there’s a technical term for those of us who try to turn every creative endeavor into a sellable product. Haha.

  2. Miranti Kayess

    You make SUCH a great point here, Amanda. I used to consider projects around the home as my hobby but honestly that often feels like work too! I keep thinking I’d love to get into macrame or some kind of weaving.

  3. Jen

    ahhh I love your plates! I never tried pottery (yet), but now you have me convinced that should be my next fun art thing.. Unfortunately I think those classes are the ones that fill up the fastest ! Are you taking classes or just playing in the studio in your free time?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I took a required class to learn the rules of the pottery studio, so I could get an open studio pass. Now I can make whatever I want! I mostly buy clay at the studio, work at home, and drop my pieces off to be fired. I prefer not taking a class so I can pick and choose what to work on.

  4. Chris Pridmore

    FANTASTIC work there! They’re so great. Do you think you’ll explore a little into this area with W&W products? They completely fit your style (which I think you’ve nailed effortlessly for a long time now). Are there any other hobbies you’ve found an affinity with?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks a lot! When I get a lot more confident I may sell a few pieces here and there, because I’ll run out of room to store everything I make haha! ;) No other hobbies at the moment!

  5. Sabela

    I would love to do pottery! It must feel really good :)
    Besides my regular (boring) job, I write books and also draw, and yes, both activities do help get inspiration for each other, I find. Also, as a hobby, I’ve been trying clay modelling (using polymer clay) and I want to try sewing plush toys and funny pillows :D “Try” is the operative word, since I’m on maternity leave and my spare time is virtually non-existent!
    :*

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I know that feeling! I had so many ideas I wanted to try on maternity leave. Probably because I had a lot of time to sit and let my mind wander while rocking the baby. ;)

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