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Follow Your Bliss

“Follow your bliss.”

It’s been a California cliche since the 60s, at least. The phrase lies in wait for everyone, ready to assert its truth at personal crossroads, crises, and milestone moments. It certainly came to my mind this summer, when I found myself at what felt like a turning point in my journalism career. I reflected on all the things I had done for a living - newspapers, online media, communications, teaching -- and on the things I had done in my leisure. One source of pleasure for the past dozen years or so has been making mosaics. It was a way to exercise another side of my brain (and often to test the endurance of my body). It was an escape from All Things Computer -- grounding me in the physical. As for many mosaic artists, the activity is also meditative.  That’s just for starters.

So when the opportunity arose for me to take on the role of general manager of IMA, my personal “happy place” since before its move from Fruitvale to Berkeley, I realized that this was “it” -- the thing I most wanted to do next. It seemed a Major Signal from the Universe, as it were.

Joseph Campbell, who may not  have been the one who coined the phrase, describes the phenomenon:

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.”  

So, hi. My name is Laura Paull and I am so happy to be joining Ilse and Sophia Cordoni, owners of the Institute of Mosaic Art, and all the other teachers and makers and sellers who keep 805 Allston Way the buzzing hive of creative activity that it is. What I love more than anything is looking around during mosaic workshops and seeing all the diverse individuals gathered from all walks of life, pursuing their visions and honing their skills, to the tink of tile and crackle of glass. The intensity -- the contentment! A whole roomful of people following their bliss.

In the coming months I’ll be learning the business and am especially excited to contribute to the IMA blog and newsletters, hopefully making it one of your go-to places for reading about the mosaic arts. I’ve previously published profiles of some renowned international mosaic artists such as Lilian Broca and Ilana Shafir, and would love your suggestions for future stories or short blog posts and ideas for building our mosaic community.

Come to think of it, it might have been the ancient Chinese sage Confucius who got us all eager to follow our bliss. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” he said.

Well, not exactly. I expect I’ll be working hard, but loving every day of it. I’ve come through the crossroads and know the way.

--Laura Paull, General Manager, IMA