Repetition, Proficiency & The Subconscious

When we get into throwing repeated forms it allows the muscle and body memory to come into play, freeing our minds to come out and play. It takes a lot of hard work to get to that place.

When we start, we throw whatever comes out. Every pot is different because we don’t have enough control to throw exactly (or as close to exactly) as we can.

Once repetitions are done enough times and we hit the limitations of what our conscious minds can come up with… that is when the subtle and sometimes tricky conditions are met where our subconscious can finally take part in the creative act.

When someone gets to the point of high proficiency  (which I have not, but I’ve watched and conversed with enough skilled creators to understand), they are eventually able to “LET GO”! And that is a beautiful thing to watch, someone who can truly let go and just play.

We praise the “masters” for being masterful. We gloss over their hard work with a montage at best and discuss with great enthusiasm the techniques that they must have used to achieve whatever masterpiece is in front of them.

People seem to ONLY show their best work. The perpetual golden sunsets of the best photographers, unintentionally making it seem like anything less is a snapshot of inferior skill. The world renowned chefs whose only real exposure is on the table and in the magazines and creating this expectation that anything less than culinary perfection is not good enough. The potters who pull that bit of vitrified magic from the kiln every time.

This is not to discount the very best at what they do, it is the highlight the drudgery of repetition, the sting of failures, the  struggles and questioning: “Is this what I should be doing with my life?” These are the things that we collectively as humans, ask ourselves.

The concept of showing our best is not intentional, its just what our ego dictates that we do. We like to show our best work, not our failures. But the only place to learn is from failures. If you get something perfect with the first try, there is no place for you to go.

There is always room for improvement which is a highlight of creation by human hands. There is a built in striving for perfection that is not there. It keeps us going. It can also be that aaaaaalmost perfection that we see in something that can really draw us in.

I dream of a place where “masters” have their place, but hard work is also praised and encouraged on a social level to bring more people towards high proficiency. Instead there is a dismissal of hard work and  nobody really wants to be on “the grind”.

So keep on throwing, keep on learning, even when you are on a plateau and not making what you might consider good progress, it still counts towards getting good.

 

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