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A Path

Arts & Culture > 1perfection 20181122

1perfection 20181122

... mostly in pottery anyway.

The analog nature of the wiring of the mammal brain prevents us doing things perfectly or repeating things exactly the same. Practice does not make perfect, but it makes better. The human body is far from perfect (and needs constant maintenance) and is impermanent.

In working with clay in pottery class the last few months, perfection has come up, at least for me. I'd be happy with making something that's a "keeper", but it takes time learn the skill to make pottery that's balanced, symmetrical, etc., especially on the wheel.

Even after the object is made there are still opportunities for things to go awry. The objects can warp, crack, or explode in the kiln. After that, the glazing introduces another set of variables and result in a runny, crackled, or pitted glaze or all of those. In some circumstances, those things are the effects of interest, but there's where the skill comes in again.

Add up the imperfections in the clay-forming process, then add the firing modifications, then add the glazing wildness, and the final object can be pretty far from the initial vision. I asked the teacher about this progression and he said that it's the nature of working with clay, but as you gain experience your control over some of the variable increases. Mostly in the form of better ability to form the clay. What happens in the kiln is still a wild card, but you learn to prepare for that.

Art is often a mix of skill and understanding, both of which come from experience, and pottery seems to me to need a lot of both.

posted on Nov 22, 2018 5:04 AM ()


Practice makes perfect. After seriously expanding my crochet abilities i can now even read patterns. Best of luck to you!
comment by elkhound on Nov 28, 2018 9:51 PM ()
Good luck with your expanding abilities.

Thank you
reply by stiva on Dec 2, 2018 7:22 AM ()
Always wanted to try my hand at pottery but fibre is my passion.
comment by nittineedles on Nov 22, 2018 11:26 PM ()
I made pots and a small bust in camp when I was a kid. The results were truly awful. I envy your skill.
comment by tealstar on Nov 22, 2018 5:44 AM ()
One day I might have skill
reply by stiva on Nov 22, 2018 7:33 AM ()
Ron got me a pottery wheel type thing for beginners that I haven’t checked out yet. I love pottery tho, even imperfections can be perfect my friend.
comment by kristilyn3 on Nov 22, 2018 5:34 AM ()
Other people in the class say comments about the pieces being handmade. There is an added character to them due to that

After the holidays maybe you'll find time for the pottery thing.
reply by stiva on Nov 22, 2018 5:41 AM ()
There is something so elemental about making pots. I love the medium and when an artist friend took a class with us, she hated it. Being messy by nature, and willing to be surprised, I love it.
comment by elderjane on Nov 22, 2018 5:22 AM ()
I used to do some wood carving, which is a removal process. Clay work in an additive process. Adding is more forgiving. I like working with the clay. Could do without the mess (and the surprises) but it cleans up easily.
reply by stiva on Nov 22, 2018 5:39 AM ()

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