In addition to being a good life skill, the process of letting go applies to a variety of developmental stages in clay. I’ve learned that each time I stop looking back at a mistake; a poorly executed skill; a broken pot; or a plan gone awry and move ahead, the outcome is usually positive.
As a beginning potter, I wanted to keep everything I made because it showed that I had finished the process. As my skills grew, I became more critical of the final piece and began to treasure only those that matched my intentions and let go of ones that did not.
The clay process can be cruel with unforeseen mishaps lurking at every stage of the creation. I’ve learned to make peace with this reality by thinking that ‘every pot has a life.’ Some are short-lived and never even make it to the kiln; some don’t make it through the firing process; some make it and may even exceed your expectations and then some get broken down the way. This mantra frees me from wallowing in the past so I can let go and move forward.
At this stage in my studio, letting go means learning to trust my creative instincts and translate them into the clay. By loosening up, trusting my skills and letting go of the past, I’ve been able to create in the moment and find my own voice through clay.