More often than we think, we find ourselves overwhelmed by work burnout, looking forward to that 8-hour shift to end so that we can go home and contemplate the rest of the evening we have left for ourselves. Studies show that what’s mostly bothering younger generations, is finding joy and fulfillment out of what they do. But how can one manage to do that, in a capitalist society led by the principle of profit? Youth Time asked Laura Sllamniku Kryeziu, an amazing pottery and ceramics artist from Prishtina, Kosovo.
It is surely not easy, to simply pass through all the barriers that we face along the way and get to the career we want. History has shown us that following your passion involves blood, tears, and a lot of sweat. Of course, I’m being overly dramatic when saying it involves blood, but trust me on the tears thing. And it’s not even guaranteed that you will make it! But hey, if we have so many success stories, people who have pursued the ‘call’ they received, why can’t we all do the same thing right? Well, in order to throw us a bit of spark and magic towards the hard decision of following our dream job, I have been speaking to Laura Sllamniku Kryeziu, an amazing pottery and ceramics artist from Prishtina, Kosovo.
According to her, things may just go well for you if you have enough will and determination to pursue what you love. So read below, for her precious advice regarding what we all owe to do, to reach that utopian point of fulfillment.
Can you tell me the story of how you were first introduced to pottery?
I was studying painting at the University of Prishtina when I was offered an opportunity to visit the University of Tirana. It was in Tirana that I was introduced to ceramics art and witnessed the processing of clay for ceramics for the very first time.
Clay in All Its Forms Surrounds All of Us
When and how did you realize this was something you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
One way or another, each one of us has had the opportunity to feel and play around with clay (soil). Whether it was during childhood playtime or in primary school, various materials such as soil, wood, metal…all play a part in our development and treatment.
When I realized that it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, is when I noticed that if we look deeper into our daily lives and at what surrounds us then it would undoubtedly be clay in all its forms. From the earth on which we walk, the cups of our morning coffee, the plate from which we eat to the sink we clean our face. I fell in love with clay from the first moment I had the opportunity to model. I was fascinated by the material, how flexible it was to create anything you wanted.
Having an art background made it easier for me to discover various artistic approaches, but needed to learn the technical side of handling the material.
In short, from the moment that I saw clay, there was an undeniable spark that was lit in me. I came to understand that through ceramics I had the world in my hands and opportunities were unlimited.
Do you consider it difficult, to find meaning in our profession, taking into account the contemporary times we live in, and the barriers people face to earn money out of what they love to do?
I believe that there are several factors to what I consider to be a meaningful profession.
I feel lucky that I work and practice the profession I love, and that gives me fulfillment. On the other hand, achieving full financial and material control in this particular profession has been a struggle.
Fortunately for me, my Studio has not been the sole income for my household. Having this financial flexibility allowed me to obtain pursuing my passion. Needless to say, this did not make me work less. It made me be more creative and savvy. Today we live in the age of technology where we have the power of marketing and selling at the tip of our fingers. Although this does not guarantee material or financial fulfillment, it does provide unlimited opportunity. Personally, it has helped my business immensely for decades prior to when I first started.
I will say that professional fulfillment can be many things for many different people. Being blessed to find meaning in what you do, regardless of the field is what will I believe will truly fulfill us.
A Meaningful Career Is Many Things
Did you have any similar challenges, and how did you overcome them?
I definitely had challenges every step of the way. In Kosovo the country where I practice my profession, the mass population viewed ceramics and pottery mainly for functionality. In my daily business, I struggled to educate customers about opening their perceptions of ceramics and teaching them to view it also in its artistic form and not solely as a functional and practical product. I wanted to be able to not only create a work of art, but to create something that portrayed a feeling or a moment that will make you experience something more than a functional product. Those moments were some of the biggest challenges for me.
These and other sort of challenges made me see that with continuous work and willpower, challenges may be overcome. I also had a loving and compassionate family that supported me and allowed me to pursue my dream, regardless of the struggles I encountered.
What does a ‘meaningful career’ mean to you?
A meaningful career to me is many things.
I find meaning and am happy and fulfilled that I practice the profession I love.
In my case as a painter and ceramist, any critique, feeling, or moment that I experience when my work is exhibited I achieve professional and material fulfillment.
What I would consider being meaningful in terms of career is the moment of positive evaluation and the approach of the mass to the work or artwork that we do when practicing a profession.
If We Work to Live, Then Why Should We Drown While Working?
How does pursuing your passion helps you feel fulfilled in life? And is this the case for you as well?
To study a medium such as clay, which at that time in my life was so unknown to me I came to see it as an intriguing challenge. I managed to make it a goal of mine to educate and embed myself in the challenge. After 20 years of being a working and active ceramist, this profession and passion still manage to challenge and intrigue my goals. I feel that this helps me feel fulfilled because it has continued to feed my passion for what I do.
What is your advice for younger people who are searching for meaning in their jobs?
I believe that in order to have meaning from the work that we do, despite the fatigue, hardships, problems, and challenges we face, to try and also need to experience spiritual satisfaction. Once we experience joy and fulfillment spiritually, then happiness and whatever else we seek will help direct us towards achieving material, financial, and professional fulfillment.
“If we work to live, then why should we drown while working?”
Photos: From the personal archive of Laura Sllamniku Kryeziu
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