A Peak in the Studio // Determining Success

A while ago I shared that in fact I have gone to college & in fact do have a degree....a BFA in Crafts.  Which is funny when I share it with people.  I don't have a degree in eating paste, however.  My concentration was in ceramics.

For the past 6 or 8 months or so I've been enrolled in a ceramics workshop at the local community center where I live.  The first session, I was getting used to throwing instead of hand building.  When I was in college I focused mainly on hand building because I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to center clay & make a dang pot.  This resulted in a few curse words, some clay going across the room, & triumphant tears when I finally got one cylinder completed.  I promptly gave up & turned back to hand building because that is where I was comfortable.

When I picked up wheel throwing again last fall I came home with a load of crap:

All of these have heavy bottoms, have not been trimmed, or have really wonky shapes.  The only thing I did master was creating something that resembled a pot.  The bottom one on the right is the closest thing to right on the money I got in that session.

Now, I've signed up for open studio on Sunday & have classes on Tuesdays.  At some point during this session I had a break through.  All of a sudden my crap was turning into exactly what I wanted.  I was actually throwing with purpose!  Because of these two days in clay a week, I am now churning out double the goodies and getting way better.  I have some currently in the glaze kiln & some awaiting to be bisque fired.

Untrimmed bowls & some other random things to be glazed
Trimmed bowls filling up my tiny shelf

So far, I've made countless bowls & even some tumblers.  I've had to borrow shelf space on my room mates shelf, on another person's shelf, & had to stack things that have been bisque fired.  I've been working up a storm.

This is the first time since graduation that I've considered myself successful with my degree.  Have I become a master potter? No.  But I have stepped out of my comfort zone to create some really awesome pieces.

I want to share with you a little bit of advice on success I've picked up along the way:
If you've challenged yourself & at the end of the day you feel proud, you've already met your goal.
Getting discouraged because you aren't being the best you'd like to be doesn't help you get there.  Recognize your little achievements because we all stared out somewhere.  This can apply to anything in life.  Don't get down just because you aren't where you want to be if you've achieved a little milestone then that means you are definitely on your way.  Keep on keeping on because it's the only way you are ever going to get better.  Make sure you are challenging yourself & don't let yourself convince you to take it easy.  You need take control of your goals! Another thing to keep in mind is:
Ever tried, ever failed.  No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.
This Samuel Beckett quote means you will learn from your failures.  Keeping determined to get somewhere will help you get there faster.

Whether its throwing something that sorta resembles a pot or throwing an actual round bowl, or any other endeavor you dare to embark on, keep determined.  Eventually it will pay off, I promise.  Step out of your comfort zone, do something that scares you, & once you have you'll realize that it's the little achievements that determine your big success.

Do you celebrate your little milestones? How do you keep determined when you get discouraged?


  1. I love those little bowls..it must feel great to create something like that :)

    I actually just blogged about milestones earlier this week..it is really important to recognize the achievements we have-no matter how big or small.

    There is no success without failure!


  2. This post was a great encouragement to me! I've been feeling a little discouraged this week about graphic design. Everything I try to design lately just comes out looking a little wonky. Lol. I really am so much better than I was when I started my classes, but sometimes it feels like I still have so far to go! Thank you for encouraging me to keep on trying/failing. It'll eventually make a difference in my talent, but if I don't try at all I'll never get anywhere!

  3. This reminded me of the semester I took of Clay I. I hated it because nothing came out as I envisioned it! It was the hardest class I took in art school. The only two pieces I kept from that whole semester were things I made for myself. I never even got to try to the throwing wheel, ha!


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