I took my first pottery class in college in the early 1980’s. I sat at my wheel as my instructor talked me through throwing a cylinder. It was a challenge; my pot was small, misshapen, and had taken me an hour to make. And it was precious to me. He then told me to cut it in half. What? Don’t you know how long it took me to make that? What if I can’t ever make one like that again? I cut it in half
Developing expertise at pottery requires thousands of hours of practice, with many malformed pots along the way. In the beginning, my urge was to save each one. They were, after all, things I created with my hands from a desire in my heart and a vision in my head. Like children, in a way. Precious. Soon, however, my garden became filled with my failures. My kitchen cupboards overflowed with quirky little darlings.
Becoming proficient required me to realize that each pot was not precious unto itself, but a step in the journey. Each pot that fails at the wheel, or emerges from the kiln different than expected, is not a cause for sorrow, but a gift of greater knowledge and experience.