Dara Hartman | Episode 814
Dara Hartman is a full time studio artist in Salt Lake City, UT. Dara is the Director of the Women Working With Clay Symposium at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. Dara received a BFA from Virginia Tech and an MFA from Montana State University.
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Before you went through the consulting were you a person that chased all the rabbits?
Yeah, I did. (laughter) I think also before that moment I was working as a product designer and was working very long days and driving an hour each day to a job and I was really designing for the mass market. I learned a lot of skills through this that applied to what I am doing now and I now see myself as a designer as well but I think that was a pivotal moment for me. That helped to kind of shift my direction.
Would you say that you were overcommitted in terms of time to making certain pieces just because it was the love?
Yes, this is a passion. I love getting into the studio every day. I love feeling slip in my hands. I love carving these pieces that I am making and I love the joy that my pieces bring to people and I think that is something I recognized particularly during the pandemic. I went through a difficult time and a friend of mine called me, I hadn’t reached out to anybody for a long time, and a friend of mine called me and said, We need beautiful things in the world. And that meant a lot to me.
Did you find systematizing your creativity restrictive or did you find that you had more freedom from distraction?
I felt that there was a creative challenge in trying to figure out that system and that creative challenge is ongoing. So I think of mold-making and slip-casting, this whole process as a puzzle, that I make the puzzle and then I have to put it together and it’s constantly changing pieces. And so I love this idea of it always being a challenge. It’s a constant evolution.
Did having systems in place free up time for you?
It did. Yeah, it did free up time so I can make certain things faster and that allows me to spend time on idea development. I try to spend time drawing and writing everyday and it freed up time to be able to work on these sculptural pieces, to draw new maps for my bike mug, and to work on new pieces for the carved pottery line as well.
What’s the best place to start if one wants to get better at systems and time management?
I would say the first thing you would need to do is recognize where you are wasting time in the studio and that would start with a spreadsheet. That’s the hardest thing to do to sit down and hit the timer every time that you are working on something, every time you touch a piece. And once you get over the feelings that come with that then you start to think, we’re creatives, you have to think creatively about how you are going to solve that problem. So yeah, you start with idea development and brainstorming.
What do you have coming up that you are excited about?
So I am the director of the Women Working with Clay symposium and the symposium is a four day symposium that takes place at Hollins University in Virginia and basically the way this happens is there are two potters on once side of the room and two sculptors on the other side of the room and there is a conversation that takes place between the artists and the attendees. This is really about celebrating women ceramic artists.