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The Ironic Happiness of Unemployment: Inspiration in Scarcity — Life of A Designer

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

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The Ironic Happiness of Unemployment: Inspiration in Scarcity

Leigh Ann Black, 30
Water Valley, MS formally Seattle, WA
“I always felt like there’s a lot more in me than I can do in an
architectural firm. So, the lay off was actually the best thing I never expected.”

Former Occupation: Architectural Design
New Career: studio potter (Little Blackbird Studio) & caregiver
Little Blackbird Studio is a mixture of pottery, ceramics, painting, photography. www.micizibi.com

How long have you been unemployed in the traditional market?
Since December 23, 2008.

Why did you choose your current career path to explore?
Just playing around really. I found a used Brent Model J kickwheel for $300 on craigslist. I never threw pottery before and have never taken any art classes formally. My dad helped me set up the kickwheel up in our barn, and I taught myself to throw. Now, I have two wheels, one is electric. I have an electric kiln, and I wired the barn last summer. My future goal is to have a little house with a room for my studio and a space to show and teach locally.

Would you have chosen this career if traditional market path was still an option?
Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. I certainly wouldn’t be as happy in architecture, so I am really grateful for everything that’s happened.

What’s been the most challenging factor thus far?
Being broke. I am in transition, so I take care of my grandmother to help out and live above my parents’ garage which is pretty humbling. My 28 year old sister also just moved in their house to save money.

Future goals/aspirations:
I want to have a co-op artists’ studio, let kids spray paint my old air stream, and set it up in a backyard for fun. I vision to have a fully functioning studio, and teach all ages. In regards to the caretaker in me, I aspire to own a handicap accessible wheel so I can also serve art therapist to those who would benefit from the joy of pottery.

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About Sirobe Carstafhnur


  1. James says:

    Excellent Article!! This is great posititve and uplifting news! GO MISSISSIPPI!!! And the south…and Serbia :) Keep it up guys and best of luck for the future!


  2. Phillip Rogers says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. It opens my eyes to fact that people majoring in engineering used to have a guaranteed job after graduation, but because of the economy nothing is guaranteed anymore.

  3. Stacy says:

    great article. it’s always uplifting to hear how people make the most of what could be a negative situation. gotta stay positive! good luck and great site!

  4. Ms T says:

    great article about a great friend of mine who has taken what could have been a potentially devastating situation, and turned it into an opportunity to follow a life long dream! Just goes to show that losing your job is not always a bad thing…especially when you have the foresight, determination, and guts required to start your own business…in this economy, it is really the only way to know that you will have some type of job security…you are never safe these days in the workforce. I am very proud of Joseph and anyone else who takes the bulls by the horns, and does not let the state of the economy determine their future…kudos Jo, and I KNOW that you will be a success, and I wish the best of luck to others in the same situation.

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