Humble Beginnings

[Photo: Jerel - Early Bottle circa 1994]This past Spring I took the chance to catch a ride out to Rough and Ready, California where I grew up.  I was able to visit family and stay with my Mother and Father.  While I was there I saw some of my early pottery proudly on display.  The sight of it made me cringe.  I tend to look at my work with a very critical eye.  There are very few pieces that I have made that I can look at and go, “That actually is very nice”.  When people hear me talk about my own work this way they give me the *hairy eyeball* and tell me I am crazy.  Maybe it is because in my mind I am nowhere near *arriving*, I would hate to think that in my short career as an Artist that I have “Made It” already, I still see the potential for so much growth in the work I do, whether it is wheel thrown functional ware or the abstracted figurative sculpture that has drawn so much of my attention as of late.  While the early work may make me shudder to look upon, it is also motivational for me.  It provides me with a benchmark, some tangible work that I can see and compare with my current body of work.  It helps me to see the progress I have made in technique, design, and skill as an artist.  It gives me a measure of my growth, and so in the end I am grateful to my mother for saving those hideous pieces, for storing them away where I could not get my hands on them, to give them the “Hammer Treatment”, and break them in a fit of shame.  It is important for us to keep a record of where we have been so we can see where we are going, and the path that has brought us there.

One Response to “Humble Beginnings

  • I do the same with my past work, and often my current work! I think that your attitude though is what makes you an artisan or craftsman rather than a money-hungry artist (you know the type… they HAVE to have made it to be able to sell confidence to their clients).

    So, keep producing, keep a lessons learned list, and keep moving forward… we have a lifetime to master our craft!

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