Finding balance between production and non-production


I find myself living, practicing, and working at the Soaring Gardens Church thanks to Ora Lerman.

Because I hold teaching jobs, I have had to commute for a mid-week “weekend” out of the studio (and the solitude).

Besides the magic of the books that are here, and back issues of a fantastic publication, “Parabola,” I have revisited my Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellowship documentation book a few times, and there is a joyful doodle from my time as a resident at ZMM that says, “non-production!”

So when it isn’t the goats in the field, the sunset, a few flash blizzards, the falling apples, the blowing leaves, the raccoon that also likes the apples, fog obscuring everything, and a cat happily trotting by with a mouse in its teeth…

Then the question is about how - in a world “short on time” - how does one discipline themselves between practice and studio; because imbalance in the urge to produce more destroys the necessary stillness that gives rise to patterns arising in the work from beyond an individuated self.


Hi Scrap!

I am enjoying your postings on this site! We met briefly at ZMM, I forget when.

With the new year, I moved to a new place (Western North Carolina) and am trying to make studio art practice the center of my work life. There is joy in this, and insecurity. I am a potter, and I relish in production. I don’t love pottery for the money it brings it (or I would choose a different vocation) but I am generally aware of the value of a cup say as I make a run of cups, and this is part of it. But in my new home, being temporarily studioless, I am making without a prayer of selling what I am working on. It is an interesting tension you are describing between production and non-production. I generally feel more inspired and ready to work when I have a goal - a commission or a show to work towards. Without any aim or idea of production, I am not sure that my work is as ‘good,’ but I am learning, and loafing, and listening to the material, and certainly coming up against my mind.

Thank you for posting, just starting to explore this site, and inspired by the existence of such an organization as this!


hello kind micah,
i think we met during 'being the bowl." i could be wrong, but-- do you remember when we were waiting for things to dry? fondly recalling your presence, I am specifically recalling the spontaneous collective poetry play~ neither anticipated nor controllable, it was ∞

with such joy to hear of your journeys,