A Potter’s Journey

I have decided to chronicle my journey of fear and insecurity as a developing artist in the hope that it will encourage and inspire someone else–maybe you. It’s scary! But, you might be scared, too. So … I figured we’d just go along together!

For starters, here are my fear-based confessions: When I come across a potter whose style impresses me (and there are many!), I will often think, “Well, that’s it. This person has created the pottery I would have created had I been good enough. It’s now time to throw in the towel.” As if they’ve used up all the potter talent in the world, and there’s a possibility there isn’t any left for me to find. Or that I’ve started to late in life (about halfway, if I live to 100). Or that if I can’t make something jaw-droppingly stellar in my first few attempts, I never will.

A Scary Blank Canvas
A Scary Blank Canvas

When I watch the wonderful DVDs that Ceramic Arts Daily produces, or the YouTube videos so many share, or read various potter’s blogs, I am so impressed with their vision for creativity … but mostly what I see right now when I look at my lovely rolled out slab of clay is a scary blank canvas that I likely don’t have the wherewithal to transform.

I’ve been obsessed with clay for about 3 years now (today is July 19, 2014.) But in real time — between family, job, other interests, life’s drama, and what-have-you, the total number of hours spent/clay worked is more like 6 months/a handful of boxes of clay from Trinity Ceramic Supply. Any studio potter would tell me to get over myself and throw a few hundred more pots before whining. That is one reason I love John Britt’s fabulous YouTube videos! He always ends them with something like, “Now go make 25 of those and we’ll see you in the morning.” A great reminder that effortlessness requires hours upon hours of effort. 


2 thoughts on “A Potter’s Journey

  1. HI Teresa. I want to commend you for having the courage to write about your fears. Someone once questioned me about this: What advice would I now give to myself as a young boy, in two words? I immediately replied, “Fear not”. I believe that fear is our most debilitating malady. In thinking about it now, I see that it is a part of my mind and body. It is just there like breathing. So any exercise that can be used to practice turning away from our fears and working through them is an essential to a happy life. Fear is not to be ignored, but explored and negotiated with to find a solution that allows us to continue growing. Life is like the old cliche, “whistling past the graveyard”. There are techniques to cope with fear and one of the best is to admit them. You are amazing. Keep up your journey to wholeness. Love, Dad

  2. Thanks Dad!! It was interesting how many times I went to erase what I had written, told myself it was dumb, that no one wants to read my whining, etc. etc. So I thank you for your encouragement!!

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