Adding & Subtracting. My 10 Days.

10 days ago my husband Matt Wilson got on a plane to join our son Clayton with the grandparents and spend time together fishing in lovely Canada.

I stayed home.

My plan: to make work for my upcoming exhibition with my brother Bobby Free called “It’s Still Free” at the Clay Studio of Missoula. It opens in a few weeks. Yep, pushing that deadline. (oh-come see it-September 5th! Bobby will be in town for it!!)

Anyway, I have been thinking about the last ten days and what I need to hold onto. You know, when you make a body of work and look at it and think, “what should I take from this and keep working on?” Well, if you’re not a maker and you’re reading this, it can be used in life too. Just change the words to read “what did I learn from this and what can I keep working on in my life?”

I had a great conversation with my new friend Gail Brown just a few days before the 10 days started. She encouraged me to add something to the 10 days to make it memorable. To make is special (like the special time my guys were having). I thought about that a lot. “What do I add?” To my work? To my house? A trip? An experience? What can I add? How do I make it special? And the more I thought about what to add the more I wanted to subtract!

All the house projects I could have done. Taken off the list.

Fridges that could have been cleaned: Not happening.

Filing that could be done: Can wait.

Facebook: I took a break. I tried to cold turkey that-and the icebucket challenge sucked me back in and I sneaked a few looks.

The work I made out of clay: I can subtract some clay and make those sushi trays a little different.

Changing it up. Adding something. Or subtracting-it really is all the same isn’t it? Taking away is subtracting and then by default, adding. Right?

During these past 10 days I got to spend a special amount of time making. That was adding. And on the flip side, the main thing I subtracted was guilt. The mom-guilt, the work-guilt, the relationship-guilt, well….some of it happened because my guys were gone. And in other parts of my life I just tried to focus on it.

I subtracted guilt. Wow. Well-except for that one thing I feel a little guilty about. 😉

If I didn’t get as much made on a day, but moved forward with setting up the office at our new building-great. If I didn’t get to spend time with everyone I wanted or I spaced out on an opening-well, oops. My friends will still love me.  Those 20 lbs of cucumbers still in the fridge-Matt will help me can those!

In an hour my amazing family will return to me. It was lovely time in the studio. And good times outside of the studio. I made new friends, completed some projects, and just kept moving forward. And as I continue to move forward I will try to do so with a little less guilt.

Sushi trays and small plates
Sushi trays and small plates
Soy bottles with lids
Soy bottles with lids


  1. Mom and Mark says:

    Emily…we thought of you sooooooo much in Ontario…and our best fishing spot? Emily Bay!!!
    We missed you!

    Love, Mom

  2. Sally Angove says:

    Your thoughts in the blog are right on. We artists need to focus on letting the guilt go. When you are creating, you are building more love for the family you live with because they are allowing you to expand and grow.

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