Fulfillment of a Dream — Olivia Mills

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Written by Olivia Mills ’15

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he or she grows up”
– Pablo Picasso

I am very fond of this saying by Picasso. In many ways, it summarizes the way I manage daily stress. Pottery has been an outlet for me ever since the fifth grade. I joined a pottery summer camp in 2003 and ever since then, playing in clay has been my passion. It is the one place I’m allowed to let my creativity loose and my insatiable curiosity explore art and form. Throughout my elementary and high school years, pottery was my stress reliever and creative outlet. My instructor, Anita Hughes, was and still is one of my most trusted mentors. Without her and that garage studio, I don’t know where I would be today.

Although I always loved pottery, I never imagined it would grow to be something more significant than a hobby. After only one semester of being away from the clay studio, I knew I could never leave it behind. It had brought me through the ups and downs of adolescence, and I knew I would need that safe place to retreat into when life got hectic. With this in mind, I worked with my advisor so that I could declare a concentration in graphic design and simultaneously take ceramics courses every semester.

By spring 2013, I completed my first successful show as a ceramic artist. That summer I made the decision to spend my break launching Olivia Claire Designs, a business where I could sell my pottery. This was more than a simply career goal, but also a fulfillment of a dream. To be able to work in clay for the rest of my life, no matter where my graphic design pursuits took me, was something I came to realize I wanted badly. This was and still is my career goal. I knew however, that I would need Olivia Claire Designs up and running before graduation in order to concentrate on building a graphic design client base. With a little convincing -on my part, my dad allowed me to convert our barn’s feed room into my studio and an old horse stall into my kiln yard. These are humble beginnings, but my favorite stories have always been about people who started their successful businesses in humble places. My father is one such example and he has been my source for entrepreneurial inspiration from the start.

My goal is to be working solely for myself by age 30, at which time Olivia Claire Designs will hopefully be selling both my ceramic work and graphic designs. I have done three official art shows to date, and I am looking forward to another summer investing in Olivia Claire Design. I still have so much to learn about business and art, but as with all entrepreneurial endeavors, time is the best of teachers.

Feel free to swing by my Facebook page for a look at my stuff! 

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