Imperfection in practice makes for perfect chase of sweet spot

Practise is a loaded worded.
To the perfectionist in me it says ‘”not good enough yet, sunshine.”

To the child in me it says “do this because authority says so.”

To the addict in me it says “no instant gratification here baby.”

I have every reason to loathe practise.

But practice? 

Well, practice with a “c” is my jam.
I don’t think I ever noticed the difference in spelling between the noun and the verb before I became a potter. Subtle, but oh so significant.

Potters, doctors, lawyers, yogi, all have practices. Maybe the natural inference is that these vocations involve journeying towards a destination that’s never fully realised.

That even with a lifetime of practising, these pursuits will always leave more to be known and learned. (Nonetheless, I’d rather not think about the scalpel-wielding surgeon exercising his as-yet-imperfect skill set on my torn shoulder).

Thankfully, my pottery practice has much less-serious potential consequences; (pfft, chuck that muddy mess back in to the slops bucket). 

Ironically, throwing pots satisfies both the perfectionist and addict in me.

I’ve likened it to a surfer chasing the perfect wave. There is always a hunger to make the next one better, to get that one thing perfect that wasn’t quite right in the last one. And just when an issue seems to resolve, another crests right on cue to keep me chasing and learning. 

Every now and then I hit the sweet spot. It is exhilaration, poetry, and choruses of angels. That Pot becomes the thing of legend and euphoric recall in my own mind.  And I spend the next weeks and months chasing its memory at my wheel.

I really am just a goofy Pavlovian dog, salivating at the unsullied opportunity and hope each new ball of clay offers. 

Pottery, you save my recovering addict/Obsessive-Compulsive, imperfect arse on a daily basis. 

And I couldn’t be happier to go practise in my practice.

Throw Pots Not People is a fortnightly column about life, creativity and the world we live in, written by Taranaki artist Marita Green.You can follow Marita and her creations on Instagram.