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Creativity is Intuitive

Kathryn Ploetz of Kathryn Alma Pottery is a creative to her core, which not only has allowed her to translate her hobby into a profession, but has given her the freedom to build a life that energizes her. We are thrilled to feature Kathryn in this month's issue of En Root, and invite you to check out our Q+A with her below!

This month's theme is all about creativity. Tell us about how you interpret this theme, and how it has played a role in your personal or professional life.

Creativity, for a person like me, is what happens when I let go of preconceived notions of "productivity" and "success." I am a ceramic artist and therefore utilize my creativity in my professional life, but I find that I am most at peace when I embrace creativity in my personal life as well. This means something different to every person of course, but for me it means getting out of my head and letting my mind wander. Putting aside my to-do list to do a craft with my daughter, or taking a walk with my dogs and listening to the sounds of nature. Life can sometimes feel like a tiresome race, and embracing creativity allows me to pause and really see and experience all the little wonders life has to offer, but that we often overlook because they do not further a particular agenda.

At OutGrowth, we believe in designing the space and time to reimagine the path forward. How do you believe creativity plays a role in growing into our best selves?

For me personally, embracing my creative side was the literal key to my peace and happiness. I struggled for so long trying to figure out my path in life, and when I finally acknowledged that the creative endeavors in my life were more than hobbies and pastimes, a lot of the low-key stress and anxiety I had grown accustomed to disappeared. For others out there, I encourage you to allow a little (or a lot!) of creativity into your life. Creativity is intuitive - whether you are interested in arts, or bird watching, or carpentry - it doesn't matter - as long as you go into it without judgement or expectations. If you can give yourself the gift of small creative opportunities, you won't regret it - and who knows - you may find your true passion!

Tell us about your most significant professional moment since the start of the pandemic.

In January of 2022, I finally realized that I needed to embrace my creative side. I stopped pursing an art history degree - the closest to "artist" I had let myself venture until that point, and I poured myself into my ceramics.

How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook from pre-pandemic times.

This choice came with some scary changes and big investments. It forced me to face a lot of the self-imposed restrictions which had previously held me back from pursuing an artistic career, namely allowing myself to believe in my abilities and letting go of my fear of public ridicule. The first time I said out loud to myself that I wanted to be a professional ceramic artist, I burst into tears - it was a release, and probably one of the first times I acknowledged to myself that I had an actual dream to pursue.

What is one competency or skill you hope to develop/are developing in 2022?

Self promotion has always made me very uncomfortable, but I know it's the price of admission for someone who intends on selling their work, so that has been a big part of my work and self growth this year.

What inspires you these days?

I find myself inspired by my 8-yr old daughter on a daily basis. She is a budding inventor/scientist and approaches every day with curiosity and zest for exploration. When I find myself stuck in the rigidity of adulthood, I try to reframe the scenario to how I think she would view it. That little exercise breaks me out of my sometimes inflexible mentality and reminds me to tap into my creative side.

At OutGrowth, we believe in preparing the next generation of leaders. What is one resource (book, podcast, article, anything!) you'd recommend to those looking to carve out the time for growth in the next year?

I highly recommend "We are Supported By," a 10-episode podcast hosted by Kristen Bell and Monica Padman. It was recommended to me by a girlfriend last year, and to be honest it took me a while to start it. But once I began, I couldn't get enough of it. Each episode features one empowering female guest, from Diane Von Furstenberg to Oprah Winfrey. It was an interesting, enjoyable and often hilarious listen, but what I took away from it has stuck with me to this day. Don't shrink yourself. Don't apologize for being you - whether that's an artist or a woman or a creative individual.

What's next? What are your next steps toward growth in 2022-3?

In the coming year I plan to grow my ceramic business, and continue to welcome creative opportunities!

Kathryn Ploetz is an Annapolis-based potter, mother to two happy dogs and one awesome daughter, and wife to a loving and supportive guy. Kathryn was and raised in New York City.


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