We had the good fortune of connecting with Mishy Katz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mishy, how has your pespective on work-life balance evolved over time?
The balance of work and life. I think throughout my life I have chosen pursuits that compelled me in mysterious underlying ways I did not even understand but offered me the opportunity to continue learning and expanding my mind and balancing my world. When I was a kid, I never considered or thought about time that much, and the balance of work and life. I just played, went to school, learned to play piano, spent time with my family and grew. As I got to adulthood and began my career and my family, I tried to remain as much as possible in the mental state of playing, learning and growing. When I got to the age where I wanted to work, I took on various part time jobs, learning how to navigate through that world. I found that I enjoy dealing with people and took on jobs that taught me customer service and basic business maintenance. I also found that even some tedious work can be soothing if you have the right attitude and approach. I have always taken on a lot, enjoying the challenge of having lots to accomplish on any given day or week. In college I took 18 hours of classes and worked full time (two part time jobs) during most of my time there. During those years I also formed a rock band, and arranged dinner parties with my roommates, collaboratively feeding a small crowd of friends in the living room of our rented house. I enjoyed both my part time jobs, waitressing and librarian in the art history slide collection. Both taught me about life and balance. After earning my degree, when life brought me a husband, and four children, I took on the job of ‘being home with the kids’, spending most of my time caring for our home and teaching the kids the best I could. At that point in life I continued to perform music as a part time job and pursued my clay art as a hobby and pastime. Over time I began teaching my friend’s kids and my kids’ friends pottery and felt it was a rewarding and worthwhile pursuit, and possible career. My focus began to change, and I consciously worked toward my hobby becoming a profession. As the kids became more independent and social I expanded my studio work and teaching, building my clay world into an amazing creative space for others to learn and grow. Now my children are grown with busy lives and families of their own. I have gotten to the point where I can step back, choose new challenges and pursuits and continue to add new threads to the weaving of my life tapestry. I am able to slow down from ‘money-making’ a bit, with a more secure financial standing, and enjoy time with my grandchildren, making music for the love of it and doing my personal art. I am still working and have created a profession for myself where I am strongly rewarded continually by helping others to learn a new skill and passion, but in no way do I feel it intrudes or competes with my personal growth and flow. I have begun to teach others how to teach, and accepted and arranged for more help and assistance allowing me to take more time to rest, keep my health up and pursue my other passions alongside my profession. I get to take time to learn, create my art and music and connect with others in my ‘tribe’ of earth warriors. I look back and remember times where it felt overwhelming, or smothering, but I think the key is to step back, take a little time for yourself to assess where you are at and how you can rearrange life in a healthier way. Break down your bigger challenges into bite sized, do-able chunks and you will be amazed what you can achieve.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Creativity steers my path. As I reflect on what my art is, many things come to mind. Pottery, Music, Paintings, Sculpture, Children, Grandchildren, Communities, Families, all of these I consider something I am proud to contribute to in various ways. Looking back at what has brought me here, giving me an amazing sense of pride and satisfaction, knowing my short stay here has had some positive affect however small, the ripple effect is enough. I did not even think of it as a dream so much as something that compelled (and still compels) me to pursue and learn more and to share it with anyone who might benefit. I want to share that nothing really ever came easily to me, I just have a very strong will, focus and spirit and I encourage anyone who has a dream to follow it! Baby steps still move you along the path. If you feel frustrated, find a mentor or fellow creative and share, you will be amazed what you can learn.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Phoenix area has the must-see Musical Instrument Museum, the Japanese Friendship Gardens, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, the Botanical Gardens and something new I have yet to check out is Wonderspaces it looks pretty cool. If I had a visitor and a week I think we would plan at least one hike, and a daytime adventure from the list above, with some amazing food for dinner. I love Times Square Pizzeria in North Phoenix, Valle Luna Mexican and Butterfield’s for breakfast.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The creative community in the Phoenix area has been incredibly welcome and engaging from artists in the pottery realm to painters and drawers active and outspoken to musicians who love to jam and share their talents. My students, teachers and fellow creative explorers have such a wide world to travel.
Other: www.desertdragonpottery.com instagram.com/desertdragonpottery facebook.com/desertdragonpottery