When I first started making pottery, I chucked most of my pots. In fact, it was quite a while before I kept anything (I am not sentimental). I held no delusions about the quality of pot I was capable of making. It is the same for all potters. In the beginning, your pots look like a 3rd grader made them.
But after a lot of practice, my pots improved. Mind you, they weren’t good, but they were better. But I didn’t keep many and certainly didn’t consider giving them away for quite some time.
After several months of throwing, I finally had a some pots that were keepable and a few that were givable. So I gave a mug to my soul-friend, Sharon. She still has it – she says it represents all that I have accomplished. (She is certainly one of my biggest fans).
As my throwing skills improved, so did my confidence. I embarked on a 50-Mugs project which meant I had a plethora of mugs that I began to share. Although the mugs I gave away were my best work at that time, my mugs have improved a lot technically and aesthetically since then. So I tell anyone that has a pot I gave them that I have a standing trade-up policy. I will happily replace any old pot for a new pot of their choice – believe me, the new pots are much better.
The thing is, no one has taken up my offer yet. In fact most of them tell me how much they like the pots I have given them. But the policy is there should they ever change their minds.
You might not be sentimental (I think secretly you are), but the individuals that you give a pot to most likely are…and what they probably appreciate even more than the pot is the thought that was put behind it when it was made, the love that went into the vessel…sure, the new pot may look better aesthetically, but the feeling behind it wouldn’t be the same.
I think you are a closet philosopher and I appreciate your insight. I hadn’t considered that perspective and can totally see what you are saying but I think I will keep the Trade Up Policy in place for a while longer.
Lynette beat me to it. I was pretty much going to say the same thing. I’m sure your friends wouldn’t mind a new pot, but not at the sake of giving up their old pot. It represents a snapshot in time – of your skill and ability at that time, of your friendship at that time, etc. Also people have developed a relationship with those old pots, you can’t just ask people to chuck their old relationships for a new one because it is shinier and cleaner, there are memories in the roughness.
From the beginning of our friendship I knew you had the heart of an artist. You just hadn’t found your field of expression yet. Most people think (I’m afraid I was one of them) that an artist has a talent and it just emerges. What I learned from you is that an artist has a soul and diligence is just as important as talent. At the time you gave me that mug it was the best of your best work and I was honored to receive it. For that reason alone it will always be valued. But now it sits beside your current, lovely pieces. Who would believe all you have accomplished without that evidence of your beginnings? You bet I’m going to keep that mug!
The mugs you gave Brian and me for our wedding are fabulous. I’m not generally a sentimental person, either. But i would never be able to trade those mugs. They’re all one of a kinds and have our special day marked on the bottom. So, thanks for the offer, but I won’t be taking you up on it 🙂
You do great work!
You are so kind. I remember you gave Brian tennis shoes with you wedding date embroidered on them – I knew that was blessing from the Lord assuring me that gifting pottery had not been presumptuous (yours was the first wedding gifts I had given). Thanks for reading and come by some time for a lesson!