“Anyone with the time and inclination can acquire the technical proficiency. To achieve greatness though, that requires artistry, imagination, and thoughtfulness.” – Christopher Paolini
I was listening to the audio book of Inheritance when I heard this reality explained. Although it was said by a dragon and in the context of becoming a great warrior, this is exactly where I am in my pottery life.
For some reason, there is a prevalent belief that anyone can sit at a potter’s wheel and immediately make large bowls (although no one expects to take two piano lessons and play Rhapsody in Blue). Therefore, I spend a great deal of time in pottery classes assuring the potters that their throwing skills (and subsequently their pots) will improve with practice (and more practice).
For some, it can be discouraging to find out how much effort it requires to acquire technical skills. But it wasn’t discouraging to me – it offered me hope that I could become a potter with time and practice. Previously, I thought creative endeavors were limited to artistic people. But after working in the pottery studio, meeting a lot of accomplished potters, and reading several books, I realize that there is no mysterious gene in artistic people. They are focused and work hard.
Since setting up my own pottery studio, my technical proficiency has increased. But now, I want to do something more with my pots – the trouble is, I am not sure what that something is. I want to make them more interesting – maybe more complex. I want the pots to compel people to touch them and bring pleasure for having used them. I’m just not sure how to get there. But I expect it will take even more work than obtaining technical skills – a lifetime of work.