Passage of Time. / by Ashley Cole

Wow, May was the last time I updated my site. This is both disheartening but also liberating. As many of you may have noticed, I've closed down the 'shop' portion of the site. This is primarily due to a lack of focus and time needed to manage the shop. I'm still taking on commissions, but maintaining a stocked shop became somewhat of a challenge for me. (Plus, every piece is different which is what I love about what I do.)

On to that topic: loving what you do. I recently had drinks with a friend of mine where we sat discussing our lives and he said something that really struck a chord with me. He told me to take on one project, to just do it and get inspired again. I started drowning in the things that were being asked of me, both in my professional life and my personal life. I felt as though I no longer loved doing any of it, and that my inspiration had run dry. I work in an environment where I see people creating every minute of every day. I see the dreams and desires of everyone around me, and somehow, that stifled me. I started to feel as though my projects were insignificant and that they were never big enough or important enough. What my friend made me realize is that they are important and the people around me are the reason why they're important.

I don't think he realized it at the time, but his tiny nudge left me thinking about the importance of believing in yourself. It left me up all night thinking of ways to create something that maybe doesn't make someone else happy, but makes me happy. When I started creating for everyone else, I lost the ability to just create things for myself on a whim. At the same time, he was discussing how he felt pulled in different directions but never satisfied. That his dreams were too lofty and unattainable. This not only broke my heart but also left me feeling as though I needed to share how I felt on the topic, from an outside perspective.

What I want to tell you is this: you have an ability to create anything you want. Be that an environment full of nurturing individuals that will support you and lend a hand when you need it, a machine that does things that I can't even fathom, going back to school to further yourself and be the person you ache to be, running your own business, or hell even just existing in a manner that makes you proud every night when you go to bed. You create yourself, and you can create anything. 

I've heard a few people discussing how they want to do things, how they ache to do these things but that they'll 'never be able to'. This not only breaks my heart because it's a sign they don't believe in themselves but also because these people are some of the brightest, smartest, most incredible people I've ever known. I look up to these people. They're the people I want to surround myself with when I'm feeling uninspired because I see them working so hard day in and day out. It's hard because these people are my tribe. 

So this is my open letter to you, my tribe. 

You call me sassy and put me in my place when I deserve it, and you rally behind me when I feel like I've fallen off track. You tell me to put one foot in front of the other. You tell me that I'm still breathing. It's my turn, my turn to tell you how incredible you are. That you're a sum of all that is around you and all of the work you've put forth to this moment. You are not less because some misfortunes may have happened, the results of trials are not your worth. Your worth is in your wide eyes, your eager minds, and your unconditional hearts. Your worth is in the passion you show for those around you but also for the things that you do. Your worth is in the small snippets of conversations where you're discussing this exciting new thing you're doing and the smiles that creep to a resting place on your face.

I've watched some of you in your most frustrating moments, when you storm out of the shop and all I hear are fragmented sentences peppered with profanity or when you genuinely can't figure something out. What inspires me most is that the next day you're in here, right back at the start working on the problem. You don't give up. Not on people, not on work. You may break your part, butcher your project (or even break your arm). But you're still here the next day. You're the reason I'm here, the most important and exciting part of my day. Your energy feeds my soul, and gives me a belief that there are people out there doing things, not just talking about it but actually creating.

I'm humbled to be in your company and genuinely proud to call you all my friends. I've never felt so connected or accepted to a group of people the way I do to you. So thank you for making me who I am, for helping shape me and for allowing me to be a part of your journey. Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds. I have no doubt that you're all going to do incredible things.