My pottery: Misshapen, carved, tiny details, faerie hands, heads, hair, bits of clay flying everywhere, porcelain sails, torn to look like sails, and more carving … this is NOT like throwing a series of symmetrical bowls for cereal.
And one time at a show, another potter -a production potter- took me aside and showed me the bottom of his pots. “See?” he said, “the bottom of your pots have to be smooth and perfect.”
Well, I wasn’t as wise as I am now, so I didn’t come up with a witty remark. I might now have said,
“Uh, huh… so once I’ve built the pieces with 40,oo0 bits of carved clay scattered everywhere over the work space, and once I’ve attached tiny little people.. I”m supposed to squash them entirely as I put the pot upside down on the wheel to spend time re-smoothing the little dints that occurred as a result of the highly creative one-of-a-kind process for each pot? Is that what I’m supposed to do? Hello! I clean up the bottom the best that is reasonably possible… given what I do, do you not see you are being ridiculous by suggesting my pots be PERFECT like yours on the bottom? My bottoms are perfect in being one more sign that they are different.. in a good way.”
But no, I didn’t say that. I walked away feeling like my pots were not very good. I knew it was impossible to have perfect bottoms unless I quit carving frantically, quit adding details like a madwoman, and of course, if I stopped listening to the call of intuition, the zone, the higher self, and all those little faerie-like spirits that always bossed me around.
Even though my pots started with a nice smooth bottom…. they were never going to stay ‘perfect’ unless I simply made a series of cereal bowls.
BUT still I felt bad. The production potter’s comment probably meandered around haunting me for awhile. I probably even wondered if I should change what I do so I could have clean perfect bottoms.
I’m so glad I’m over that. I’m so glad that my imperfect break-the-rules pots evolved despite that part of me thought I SHOULD be following rules of symmetry and clean bottoms to be considered ‘good’.
But then, I can’t take credit for this… it was that crazy inspiration of spirits who first introduced themselves as faeries who pushed me past my perceived concept of perfect.
Whoaaa, I just connected a previous disconnected: I guess they were my coaches. And now I coach people to get past their own perfectionism, and the influence of others, that stops them dead in their tracks. Well, I’ll be darned.