What holds us back creatively? Preciousness syndrome can!

design Aug 14, 2020

One of the best things about being a potter is we have the chance to create one-of-a-kind pieces that can never be exactly duplicated. We love this about pottery, don't we? When we create a piece that is truly one-of-a-kind and we're finally holding it in our hands, it can be a really precious experience. There's nothing like that emotion - it's so satisfying!

But on the other hand, that feeling can also be dangerous because us potters can get really attached to the pieces we make and if we let it, our attachment to our pottery can hold us back from our creativity.

I remember sitting in a pottery lesson, staring at my bisqued pots, completely scared to experiment with different glaze combinations because I didn’t want to ‘ruin’ my pots. I sat there thinking, “‘I’ve spent so much time throwing, trimming and perfecting these, I don’t want to make a mistake with glazing them now.” So I carefully picked the glaze colour I knew that I liked and previously had success with to play it safe.

Have you ever felt this way? Preciousness syndrome can hold us back from creativity. We hold back because we don’t want to ruin our piece after all that time in making it.

Have you ever felt this way? Assuming you have, we call it preciousness syndrome. And this syndrome can hold us back from fully embracing our creativity. We hold back because we don't want to ruin our piece after we spent all that time creating it. 

It makes complete sense, right? Of course it does! And there's also something I want to share that can help with it.

When we slip cast, pieces lose an element of their ‘preciousness’ as it is easier to recreate another similar piece. 

Because this mental block has been knocked down, we feel we are able to spend the time experimenting on surface decoration of our pieces, or glaze decoration. We can even experiment in the casting process to find new patterns and designs. 

If the pieces don't turn out the first time (c'mon, when does that actually ever happen anyway in the pottery world?) it's simple to make another.

This opportunity gives us the ability to pursue new ideas and it sets us free from feeling trapped. With this process, we can overcome preciousness syndrome and reach new levels of our creativity!

The gist: We can feel creatively trapped with fear of ruining our pieces by experimenting with new surface and glaze decorations. But slip casting can help reduce our feelings of attachment to our pieces and open us up to new possibilities with our pottery.

Have you ever felt this way?

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