Throw Pots, Not People

Throw:  …to form (ceramic ware) on a potter’s wheel.
Pot:  … any of various containers made for a particular purpose; plural noun: pots.

Welcome to my column Throw Pots, Not People.

A place where I reflect on living a creative life: Keeping the balls of raising a family, maintaining my sanity, and running a pottery business (in that order), up in the air.

This is my first column, and I have to say that writing a regular piece for the Community News seemed like a great idea at the time, but now I’m here, seems much less appealing.

Maybe I should have halted the idea after I came up with the witty title.

Ideas are like that: they start out looking like a stroke of sheer brilliance, full of hope and promise (fame, wealth, unbridled power etc), but are followed with the less-than-glamorous experience of hard work, sacrifice, failure and time-consumption when they cross in to harsh reality.

Or: The Idea of It, vs It*

When I first read artist David Shrigley’s words (The Idea of It, vs It) I immediately felt relieved.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who experienced the rude awakening of realising an idea.

Ideas enamour. I admit I am often seduced by their shiny novelty (I’ve never written a column before, wont that be fun!).

The follow-through, though, can be such a drag.

A Marita Green plate that hangs on her toilet wall

And if you’re in the business of making ideas a reality, as am I in my pottery, it’s easy to routinely feel bogged down by the disappointment of trial, error, failure. Should I have just left this idea on the shelf (where it was perfect) and stuck with the safety of what I know?

But here’s the rub: regret as I may the birthing of my concept, it is entirely worthless until I DO birth it. Ideas are cheap. Free even. They come and go like the power-company sales people to my door – whether I welcome them or not.

The true value of my idea lies in the growth (through experience) it offers when I act on it. Not the pie-in-the-sky end point of success, but the risky, down-in-the-weeds, thrashing-out learning. Often the lesson is something I had no way of anticipating. Which makes it all-the-more valuable.

And so, here I am. Wrestling, on a Sunday afternoon, with 350 words that I hope are worthy of readership. And having creative faith that this column was an idea worth making real.

*David Shrigley, b 1968, Scotland

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