Episode #1: Melt Down, Psychosis or Opportunity? / by Janis Miltenberger

Back in May I was experiencing some serious procrastination and not completely understanding what was causing my internal struggle. I had the deadline looming for an upcoming show. I was not lacking for ideas of what to create. But I suspect that some of my reticence was because I was struggling with my process and shipping options.

Earlier that same spring I had a piece break in shipment to a client's residence. So I assume this was in the back of my mind when I was anticipating making and shipping new work. Sometimes small things can derail my creative process but work breaking in transit is no small thing! At any rate I pushed producing the work for this show until the very last minute (or month in this case) and so it happened one piece broke in transit to the show and I was distraught. The way I was working, wasn't working. As my pieces became more detailed the shipping became more challenging. I floundered and had doubts to my own competency. I really could not see how I could proceed and meet some of my goals.

(There is no doubt that my experience with this situation probably punched deeper buttons inside of me. Few of us escape self criticism and my inner critic is a severe task master who can and has at times climbed into the drivers seat and taken me for some unpleasant rides!)

I was commiserating/venting to a close artist/friend about my meltdown and she told me she was applying for the EDGE program hoping to find some guidance for her own art business. I went to the website and checked it out:


I had heard of the Artist Trust (Seattle) EDGE program, I knew of two artists that had graduated from the program a decade before. About five years earlier I had even suggested that a friend apply (she did and was accepted and graduated). In the end I decided to apply.

When I feel compelled the words come easily, as if the woods have cleared and the path ahead is brightly lit. It was in that spirit I wrote my application and sent it off.

More than a month later I was notified of my acceptance. The group of 18 visual artists would convene for the last week of October at Fort Worden Washington. I was given homework to start on. It is always enjoyable, making work for SOFA 2015, completing trinket orders - yes I make a few trinkets - all while starting on "homework"! Overwhelmed I plodded ahead.

The "School House" where classes would be during the EDGE program.

Some of the grounds at Fort Worden. Photo credit- Katie Miller (a colleague at EDGE).