What is Holding You Back From Trying?

challenges creative flow pottery taking chances watercolor painting welding Oct 26, 2022

By Carol Woolum Roberts

Is there something you want to try but you have not been able to make that leap?

What is holding you back from trying?

As I approach my sixtieth birthday next year, I have been looking back at the last decade of my life, and realize my fifties were a decade of taking chances.

My fifties began in New York City, a city whose lifeblood is taking chances. I guess NYC was a great place to start on my decade of trying new things.

Pottery has always been one of my favorite things.  I started collecting pieces after I graduated from college.  I always told myself that one day I would learn how to make my own pottery.  One summer my friend Rachael Kruzemark, the art teacher at Kellogg High School, offered a summer pottery class for community members, and I jumped at the chance to take it.  This developed into a love of creating and molding things from clay, adding color and then seeing the final project after the firings.  I would spend time after work designing and creating different pottery pieces.  It was the first real visual art class I ever took, and I LOVED it.

After finding a love for pottery, another friend of mine, accomplished watercolor artist Carrie Stuart Parks, offered a watercolor workshop at her studio one summer.  I signed up and found out doing watercolor was very satisfying.  I know I will never be an accomplished painter. But that wasn’t the point.  I didn’t do it so I could learn to create a watercolor masterpiece.  I took the workshop to expand my creative horizons, to try something new, to see if I could do it.

Last week another artistic opportunity came my way.  One of our Sacred Community Garden members, Carol Young, has recently learned how to make garden sculptures by welding pieces of metal together.  She invited Paul and I to come out to her welding studio to try and make something.

What an exhilarating experience.

We were familiar with some of the pieces she had made by seeing her sell them at the local market and seeing photos on Facebook.

But nothing prepared me for the scrap metal she had to use as material for her welding projects.

There were shelves and bins full of different kinds of metal.  There was rebar.  There were old tools, and gears and chains and springs.  We were invited to take any material we wanted and create anything we wanted.

At first, I had somewhat of an idea.  But then Carol showed me this piece of metal that look like it had arms and legs, and she said maybe this could be a garden girl.  The creative gears in my head started spinning, and before you knew it, I had a pie pan for a face, springs for eyes, mouth and hair, and a metal ball for a nose, Carol found two heads from a Pulaski tool to use as feet.  Then I found a round metal gear with fluting around the edge.  Then I found a piece that looked like the inside of a bicycle wheel to put with the round metal gear.  Then I had another round piece of metal with a metal steamer.  I was ready to put it all together.

Paul did his welding first, which I am glad I could watch him to see how it was done.

Unbeknownst to me, I chose very thin metals on many pieces that is very hard to weld.  But with Carol’s brilliant guidance, we made it all work.

And Emma Pulaski, the wife of Ed Pulaski, the creator of the Pulaski tool, was born.

I played. I laughed.  I was in the flow if creativity.  Time did not exist during those hours in the welding studio.

And I made a garden sculpture to put in one of my gardens next spring.

It doesn’t matter that Emma’s face is a little scorched.  Or that there are holes in places where there probably shouldn’t be.

What matters is I stepped out of my comfort zone to have an incredible time creating my Emma Pulaski sculpture. I had some creative fun as a bonus.

This is my challenge to you.  Think of something you have wanted to try and figure out a way to do it.  Step out of your comfort zone.

What is holding you back from just trying?




What is holding you back from trying something outside your comfort zone?

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