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  • Shelley Pisani

Reinventing Mid-Career

Many of my family, friends and colleagues of a similar age are currently asking themselves - where to next?  What am I passionate about?  And that so illusive work/ life balance???

After 11 years of great times and hard slog in a not-for-profit arts organisation, last year I took the leap. I wanted to reignite my own creativity after a 25+ year career of supporting others to develop theirs. I started The Ideas Distillery as a consultancy so I could continue to follow my passion for supporting arts development and particularly the careers of regional artists. But what was I going to do as an artist after so many years of making tangible visual art products?


Several lifetimes ago, I was a practicing studio artist. I had a ceramic studio in Brisbane where I taught classes and sold my handmade work retail and wholesale. I was 23 when I started this business. Needless to say - there was a lot learned at that age. It was before social media.  Websites were around but not everyone could afford it or understand how to make one. There are so many things that creative businesses today can take advantage of.


So, I naturally went back to ceramics when I decided to re-explore my inner artist. I dabbled, but still wasn't feeling the full satisfaction and wanted to turn this into a way of making money again.


I have also always loved textiles. I studied it in my fine art degree and was taught so many different techniques by my late Aunt when I was growing up. So I researched that online too. What were the latest trends?


It took nearly a year, but then on Pinterest I discovered an online training course in "Surface Pattern Design". I researched it, liked the look and signed up. You are never too old to learn new tricks. I have dabbled in digital design before but now I am learning all about Photoshop and Illustrator, creating designs that I can get printed commercially onto a range of textile homewares. Some of them may even make it onto handpainted teapots - always a secret obsession of mine.


The lesson - it is never too late to change tack. I am so excited to be developing this business alongside those of other artists and makers that I will be nurturing through the CQ Shopfront project over the next 18 months. It is a breath of fresh air!

Image Top: Lying in amongst some of my ceramics in the late 1990s

Image End of Article: Article in "Pottery & Ceramics Magazine", 1998

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