breaking the rules and writing your own
I ordered a clay that I have not used in years. It comes with a note: this clay is recommended only for sculpting and building, not for wheel throwing. When I had used it before, I never even considered throwing with it. I only made sculptures with it. That was when I thought following the rules was the only way to be a good potter. This clay fires brown black. I really want some cool, organic looking plates and bowls. Things I can do interesting, deep glazes on. So I decided. It was time to try throwing this non-throwing clay on the wheel.
The first thing I have to say is that the manufacturer is right. This clay is not meant for the wheel. If you pull on it even slightly, it rips apart. There's no elasticity whatsoever. It looks and feels like mud. It gets all over everything and is hard to get out. It's almost impossible to work with when it gets too wet.
That said, I adjusted my throwing to meet the needs of the clay. In other words, I left whatever I managed to create raw and primitive. Doing this seemed to fit the requirements of the clay. I hand altered them after throwing to give an organic feel to the edges. I had to throw thick bowls, as soon as I tried to refine them, they ripped. So I left them as natural forms.
I made four small bowls. I think that I will hand - build some matching plates for them. What a cool set this will be.
I like it when I break rules that sort of stand between me and getting the results I want creatively. Even if I have a just a small success, like this, it gives me courage to move forward and try other things to break new ground. I love working with new ideas, new materials and new concepts. It takes time and determination to get a good result from an initial idea. Sometimes things don't work. But today is an example of how just breaking through a paradigm can create a new possibility.
We live in a world where we are constantly being fed what we should accept and where our limits should be. But we can take our creative destiny into our own hands and make out of our situation what we want. It's hard to break through our own pre-conceived ideas about things and think about making small changes that can warrant huge results. Half the time, we don't even realize just how much we limit ourselves, because we do it so automatically. I know of no extremely creative person that has not taken on their own paradigms and blown them wide open through trial and error. That is, in essence, what being creative is all about. It's about breaking the rules and writing your own. It's about not being afraid to be different, to be perceived as different. It's about not trying to fit in when we know, deep inside, that we will never really fit in to whatever it is we've told ourselves we need to fit in to. It's about acceptance of our uniqueness and embracing our individuality.
I have found that the more I allow myself to follow my creative path, the less I need approval from others, the less I need in terms of material goods (because I am satisfied with how things are), the more confident I am in my decisions and in the way that I think about things. It's a wonderful realization and helps me to conquer my inner monsters and fears and doubts. I respectfully retain the right to be a free thinker. I'm a little bit like the bowls I made today. I am born of a certain type of character, and I am finding the form that I am supposed to be.
I hope that you, my treasured readers, find those small things that give you immense pleasure, and that you follow them - follow them without over thinking them, follow them for the sheer joy of having them in your lives. Allow yourself to blossom in small, creative ways that will link themselves to even more creative ventures in the future. This is what I wish for you: that even creative thing you do gives you confidence, makes you love yourself more, and makes you trust your inner voice to know that you are only holder of your own Truth.
And no one, ever, can take that away from you.