Ceramics as a Means: An Exploratory Series into Surviving as an Artist

It’s been feeling like an extra tedious chore to try to build my career when this pandemic seems never-ending. In the beginning of March, I would have confidently said that my summer was going to be filled working for the studio at my college. Although, once everyone started understanding the severity of the virus and community spaces closed, it became clear that I was going to have to think a little more creatively on how I planned to put in my time as a ceramist.

I found out about the Studio Potter internship by googling “remote ceramics internships 2020” after one too many days of just sitting around my apartment playing Animal Crossing. My initial reaction was excitement because this internship compiled a lot of my interest – ceramics, writing, and web design – into one summer-long job. While I gathered my materials for the application, I felt the first hint of an anxious doubt. I was not doubting whether or not I wanted to intern here this summer; I knew I did. This is an anxious doubting that manifests when I know I want something, but am afraid that I am setting my ambitions too high.

There are a lot of things pitted against me when it comes to my expectations and decisions surrounding my career. I am a perfectionist, which, in turn, makes me somewhat of a defeatist, because it’s exceedingly hard to achieve perfection under my standards. I tend to avoid situations where I could potentially make people disappointed by not following through. On top of it all I am a Virgo, so basically all of the above amped up about two hundred percent. These thoughts of self-doubt magnified when I took into consideration that I knew I would feel like the odd one out as a Black girl interning for a ceramics journal. 

Prior to my internship with Studio Potter, my perspective into the ceramics profession had been one that excluded Black ceramists. Most of the ceramic artists I am assigned to research in classes are White. Most of the students in my studio are White. None of my professors are Black. As I make the necessary moves to pursue ceramics and creating as my career, it’s sometimes rudely apparent that Black creativity is not uplifted. Otherwise I would have a plethora of Black ceramists to look up to and use as a guide for my success.