Name: Terrill Waldman

Age: 48

Title: Partner and co-owner with husband Charlie Jenkins

Company: Tandem Glass, Dresden

Website: tandemglass.com

About: The partners produce hand-blown lighting in limited editions particular to the artist.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Committing to get into the studio. We have the glass-blowing studio turned off right now because of the heat. This is when I do a lot of etching and lathe work.

It’s really easy to get involved in the other aspects of the business, like updating the website and photographing the work. I tend to let those responsibilities come first a lot as a way to clear a creative block. It’s easy for me to put the business first and to do what I know makes the business run. It’s a little less easy to go in a do the ponderous, creative work that’s at the basis of the business.

I have to be my own production manager. It doesn’t matter if I finish anything. I just have to clear the desk and go to work.

I like to take my biggest worry off my to-do list first. When I am as free of that as I can be, I can allow myself the time (to do creative work). It can be a lot of pressure to be creative.

What’s the best advice than anyone has ever given you?

It probably says something about me that I can’t remember anything specific. I definitely am always curious about what other businesspeople and artists have to say.

I think it would be to pay yourself first, which I don’t always follow. You have to set your priorities and you have to know what you want for it to materialize for you. I am still working toward it, but just having it there helps.

My younger brother, 10 years younger, gave me that advice. His name is Aaron Waldman.

Terrill Waldman

How do you foster creativity in yourself?

Going for a long walk will help. When I am walking, I stop thinking about everything, and a lot of thoughts that have been percolating will come up. When I am walking, gardening or looking through Instagram, my subconscious mind kicks in. The things I have been thinking about or am inspired by bubble up.

It’s hard to do things that are not immediately productive, (but) you have to go into a space of nonproductivity to be creative.

What’s your biggest fear?

The idea that my work won’t connect with people.

One of my biggest pleasures is when you create something visual or practical, you don’t have a conversation immediately with someone. They are looking at something that you felt strongly about, whether it’s color or tactile.

One of my favorite collectors would come into my booth and say, “Don’t talk to me. I just want to look around.” She would look at everything and pick out my favorite piece. I barely know this person, but I know she loves the things I love. That experience of appreciation affirms my commitment for doing the thing that I love.

The fear is what I love and care about is not interesting or is downright unattractive. I was using a lot of swamp green in my work, to the point my husband said, “Enough with the swamp green.” But people loved it. I really kind of go for the edge where color is disturbing or hard to look at. I want to creatively and technically challenge myself. When I can get someone to see something horrible as visually brilliant … I love pushing color that way.

What’s the importance of setting goals and having a to-do list?

I am a small-business person with a seasonal business. I have struggled with issues of productivity and the fear of diving in and starting a huge project.

My response (to that) is diving in and reading every article about productivity I can find. One of the things I consistently see is putting the goals out there, break them down into a series of steps. You can visualize what you have to do to make headway.

Humans love to knock things off the to-do list. Even if you have already finished something, put it on the to-do list. The satisfaction of crossing it off will help give you the lift you need to get the other things done.

A lot of us will have a grand project, whether it’s writing a book or putting on an event. Breaking it down to smaller steps makes it seem less menacing. You get a better idea of what you need to do to get a project done.

I am actually really bad at it, but I recently took this huge roll of white paper we have and pinned it to the wall, where it can scroll downward. If I don’t write it all down, it’s all swimming in my head. It’s overwhelming and all the gears jam up and can’t move again.

It’s a survival tactic.

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