How Donuts Left Me With No Regrets


I got an email several months ago about trying a new project that involved creating larger than life donuts that would be installed at a business. Nicole Marengo, owner of Madison Art Consulting, thought I might want to give this project a “go.” She knows I don’t work 3-dimensionally, or have ever worked with donuts as subject matter before, but she knows I love trying new things. I have built a reputation for being willing to attempt the unknown. I didn’t jump in right away...I was intrigued, but I’ve figured out (through many hard lessons) to hold back my compulsion to say “yes” and really think through what this challenge might look like.

I pray and ask for guidance when these kind of projects come up and although I had no idea how I was going to accomplish something like this I couldn’t seem to let the project go. I felt compelled and “pushed” to do it, so that meant to me that I needed to go ahead and start to figure out how to get started. I was thinking clay might be the best way to create these. Light weight, paintable and cost effective. I don’t work in clay. Huh. Now what?

Enter: Dale and Jill Atchison. Dale and Jill are ceramic artists in Loveland and I was getting to know Jill through our work together on the studio tour and I could tell she liked a challenge and she just might be up for trying something super crazy and collaborative. I proposed that we work together on this and she was excited to give it a try. I came back to Nicole and said I was willing to give the project a try. We would make some samples and allow the client to review to see if they wanted to move forward.

Jill and I worked via phone, zoom, email and in person in her studio to come up with a prototype that would work. There were several “fails” before we came up with a design that would work. Once we got the base donut figured out, we had to figure out how to make the toppings. Oh my, more hours of researching, fiddling with materials, etc. More “fails” followed but we eventually found solutions to our problems. We each used our arsenal of knowledge with materials and process to make these donuts come to life. And I must say, I am thrilled with the results. I still can’t believe that we just shipped our first batch of donuts to Nicole.

How did we do this?

  • Well, it started with saying “yes” to a wild idea we weren’t sure would work.

  • Then we combined our knowledge base and abilities and poured ourselves into learning.

  • Finally, we kept trying when things didn’t work. We didn’t give up.

Humble submission to an idea + an attitude of learning + persistence

= a brand new, beautiful creation.

My hope in sharing this story is to inspire you to pursue that idea that just won’t go away. That you would find a collaborator and that you would keep pushing through the mistakes and missteps and see it through to the end. No regrets.

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