Monday, November 17, 2008


Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I was revisiting some of my pottery earlier today for a shop update and dug out this sea urchin. I really, really love it. It is so far from perfect that it may be the closest to art of anything that I've made. I left bumpy clay, handprints, and tool marks on the surface, which I usually try not to do. 2/3 of the spines fell off before and during its first firing, but I liked the random design that was left so I glazed it anyway.

As I look at it now, I realize that I've changed a lot this year, because last year this piece, with its rough areas and complete disregard for machine-like perfection would have landed it in the trash. Now I feel an almost maternal affection for it. I hesitated to list it with my other work because it is SO marked by my hands, but I'm letting go of my drive for perfect and waiting to see what happens. If it's gone by the end of the week, it will probably be because I took it off and put it somewhere in the house to reflect on more.

I've never been easy on myself- demanding more and more - good grades, good works, good meals, better-quality products for my customers, faster and more and more. This summer it all came to a screeching halt. And it was hard to deal with not being able to do it all. It is still hard to deal with not being able to do it all. My responsibility to my family - my husband and my child, parents and inlaws- means letting go of my self-imposed ideas of perfection. I think that this may be why this little urchin speaks to me. Imperfect is better than just ok. It can be beautiful.

Onward. onward.


Mama Urchin said...

Little urchins speak to me without saying anything too, also about how perfection is over-rated

erica said...

I'm glad you're working on letting go of perfection and the idea of "doing it all." Since I very happily received my order last week with your comment of "I suck" on the card, which made me immediately think "No you don't! I have to go tell her." Of course, I haven't done so yet, so here you definitely don't suck!!!!

bridgmanpottery said...

Thanks, Erica. Under normal circumstances, I'd say that no, I don't suck, but I was WAY late getting that out to you. Thanks for the affirmation, though.

TD wool design said...

your post made me smile. gosh, i've been there. what's "perfect" anyway? oh yeah, us, just as we are! :) xx

amy h said...

I hear you there! I have so much trouble letting the perfect go, I wonder if it is even possible. It is good to try though.

And I really appreciate seeing that something is handmade. It's something that I've had to grow into though.

Twelfthknit said...

I hesitate to say this, because it might come out all wrong... I think that sometimes the drive for utter perfection is one's ego out of control in an attempt to be totally in control. No-one can be this super-ego being. Be kind to yourself. It seems that letting go of perfection a bit is all ready paying off for you. Looking forward to seeing more of the 'imperfect' pottery :0)