People often ask me what I would do if I wasn’t racing, or what I will do when I’m done making triathlon my career. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to art and design, the creative process of building and making something tangible from raw materials. There is no doubt that having been raised by a father who was a home builder and tinkerer must have played a role, but I feel that I have always been innately interested in the design process. Regardless of where the curiosity originated, I try and make time for it amidst the training, racing, and traveling of my current career in triathlon.
This may seem miles apart from the daily grind of swimming, biking, and running long distances, but that’s probably part of the reason I enjoy it so much, and I believe that it’s one of the things that keeps me grounded and successful in sport. Sometimes it’s easy to let one thing completely take over, and there are certainly times when that can be productive and healthy. However, I have found that it’s unsustainable long-term, and seeking some balance through other activities ultimately lends more to our primary pursuits.
So what are the ways I find to express my creative process? One of my favorite hobbies is ceramic art. I first started this while in high school, and still have my own pottery wheel now. There is something calming and centering (literally!) for me about sitting down at the wheel and focusing my energy on the possibilities that lie in a lump of clay. Although I usually start with an idea of a form I’d like to create, there are always some unexpected elements that influence the outcome; a microcosm of life’s unpredictable nature. A process called saggar is one of my favorites, but I also enjoy creating raku and wood fired pieces.
Pottery isn’t my only artistic outlet, as I sometimes dabble in painting, woodwork, and metalwork. I’ve even been known to scan the ground as I am out riding or running, turning found objects into art projects. Some mixed media and occasional sketching are also things I enjoy, but my drawing skills need some serious fine-tuning. Finally, I’ve even been known to make a little bit of jewelry, but Kelsey would probably prefer Tiffany!
I won’t be able to race as a professional forever, and no doubt my ambitions and interests will change over time, but I have a feeling that I’ll always gravitate to these types of art projects. Perhaps as a career, or not, but who knows… maybe someday they’ll be worth something! Do you have any creative project hobbies?