Tuesday, April 05, 2005

throw more pots ! - quantity not quality

process not product - always banging on about this in my classes.


In their book Art and Fear, authors David Bayles and Ted Orland tell a story that illustrates how lowered expectations encourage the repetition necessary for creative skill development. A ceramics teacher divided a class of novice students into two groups. One group was told that their final mark would be based completely on the number of pots they produced. More pots, higher grade. The other group was told that they would be graded purely on their ability to produce one perfect pot. The perhaps not-so-surprising outcome was that the best-quality pots were all produced by those who made the largest quantity of pots - those who, without attachment to the result, had set out to make as many pots as possible. They had learned how to make better and better pots. It seems that even when we are not deliberately trying to do so, we inevitably learn from our mistakes.
Slowly it begun to sink in: I had to be willing to keep at it, to learn from the doing. If I wanted to learn how to write or paint or do any form of creative work, I had to be willing to do it over and over again, even if the results were not what I wanted. - Oriah Mountain Dreamer, What We Ache For: Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul
The freedom and spaciousness allowed by "simply start - it's alright to do over...again and again" process yields the treasured pot. And not the paralyzing tension of "it must be perfect and innovative." There's a lesson here for business.
I heard Oriah Mountain Dreamer speak Sunday and if you have a chance to hear her speak on her current book tour, go (book tour calendar). She presents a fabulous eight-point template for creativity sprinkled with Rilke and Rodin stories, Rumi and William Stafford poems all topped off with a writing exercise.

From Evelyn Rodriques's Crossroad's Dispatches

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