I do not want my art to be perfect and fussy.  I don’t mind if a circle gets a little warped, or a surface has bumps or divots.  I don’t mind drips.  I don’t want my paintings to look like photographs.  I don’t care whether they sell.  I eat off plates I made.  I serve meals to my friends and family on dishes that you can’t see anywhere else.  Before I retired, I took my handmade coffee cup to work with me, and it was a touchstone.  It reminded me that I was an artist, and that there was a place in this world where no one was looking over my shoulder, telling me what I should be doing or how I should do it.  In my art studio, I get to be me.

People criticize what I do, but I don’t care.  One friend liked a bowl I made, except for a small imperfection on the rim.  Not a chip, nothing sharp, just a slight irregularity that made them reject it.  To me, that was the thing that told me this is a handmade bowl.  It is mud that took its shape from my own fingertips.  That same friend also said they would never read my writing.  They are an avid reader, and I even remember them reading great volumes, one entitled Dirt, another called Salt.  I have nothing against dirt or salt.  I can’t live without it.  However, if someone I love is passionate about something, I will not dismiss it without at least taking a look.  I certainly will not reject it to their face when they try to share it with me.

Everyone likes different things.  That doesn’t make one person right and another person wrong.  If I wanted perfect, uniform dishes, I would buy them at Target or Walmart.

I don’t say any of this to justify my art.  I say it to celebrate my art.  I just hand washed a load of new pots (actually, I had reglazed old pots that were not satisfying, but now they feel like new pieces), and in the sunlight coming in from the window over my sink, I saw so much more in the glaze than I did in the ceiling lights of my studio.  Golden flecks sparkled , and colors played together in ways I hadn’t noticed until they were in the sun.  Imperfections underneath make the glaze do interesting things, creating a landscape you will not see in factory mass produced tableware.

I create for me.  By being authentic in my artistic voice, I might speak to an authentic spark in someone else.  That’s a side benefit, because it doesn’t work for me to try to please anyone else.  I’d love to bring joy to other people.  I think that has to spring from the joy I get from being creative.

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