Over the past few months as my recovery has progressed, I have had more than ample time for navel gazing. (funny thing: I currently have what looks like three navels... thanks to some of the holes that were drilled into my abdomen to remove the sutures a month ago.)
Upon reflection here is what I have found:
- Even if my recovery continues with no major setbacks, I will never regain the abdominal strength I used to have.
- Lifting things like boxes of clay or kiln shelves can cause herniation at the ostomy site.
- Herniation looks to be the bugbear under the bed for ostomates.
- The only tried-and-true solution to avoid herniation looks to be having a reversal surgery.
- That means at least two more major surgeries.
Given this scenario, my assumption that I can simply slide back into my life as a potter is simply erroneous. Sure, I can make pots, and in fact, I am trying to make pots everyday. But what used to be my warm-up time is now my total time in the mud for the day. Stamina apparently takes a long time to come back.
I have relied on my self-sufficiency, like all potters, for most of my life. My life has been built around the premise that brute force could surmount adversity. That simply isn't an option at this point. I can't just wrangle kiln shelves into the bottom of my kiln without injuring my ostomy site, never mind the potential for actually blowing a hernia through there as well. I can't lift glaze buckets the way I used to. Even simple things like moving a board full of pots and batts is out of the question. Too much abdominal muscle engagement.
So what to do ? :
- I may consider trying to bring on another apprentice when Hannah heads down to NC in a few months. Someone with the proverbial strong back/weak mind. I just have seen so little interest or discipline in this area. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
- Renovate/redo the studio so heavy things don't have to be moved for daily work.
- Find other aspects of my interests to pursue.
I have always had many interests that would qualify more as a profession and less as a hobby. I don't really know how to do the hobby thing. If I am interested in something, I dive in with both feet. In the past decade, this has been a rediscovery of my love for photography. After seeing the dearth of good photographers in the central NY area, I am encouraged. Maybe there's room for another aspiring photog. Then again, that was my feeling about setting up a pottery studio. If I have learned nothing else in the last decade, if you don't make work that fits within the stylistic needs/wants of your local clientèle, then you are forced to either ship work out or search high and low for ways to draw new customers in from far away. Neither is simple.
Which leaves me with massive questions about pursuing photography as a potentiality. Much in the same way that most of what I learned in grad school was learned AFTER leaving. There was so much that couldn't be taught in the classroom. That makes me wonder how do I begin the dive into photography so I don't make all the same mistakes and gaffes I made establishing my pottery studio? Ideas? Suggestions?
If anyone wants to check out my beginner's attempt at setting out my shingle, so to speak... check out our new website: Cold Springs Studio Photograhy
Ideas, critiques, etc., are always appreciated.