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Embracing Imperfection: Lessons from a Pottery Class

Today, I want to share a popular parable [click here to read about its origin], that offers a valuable lesson in creativity, learning, and the beauty of imperfection. It’s a story about a pottery teacher who decided to experiment with their class.

The teacher split the class into two groups. The first group was tasked with making one pot per day for 30 days, focusing on quantity over quality. The second group, however, was instructed to perfect a single pot over the same 30-day period.

At the end of the month, the results were surprising. While the first group, which focused on quantity, produced an array of beautiful, unique pots, not a single masterpiece came from the group that had spent the entire month perfecting a single pot.

Image by Diana Light on Unsplash

The Power of Learning from Mistakes

So, what can we learn from this tale? It’s simple: learning from your mistakes always leads to a better quality result.

The students in the first group were not afraid to make mistakes. They embraced imperfection, knowing that each mistake was an opportunity to learn and grow. As a result, they were able to experiment with different techniques, styles, and designs, ultimately producing a diverse range of beautiful pots.

On the other hand, the students in the second group were rendered ineffective by perfectionism. They were so focused on creating the perfect pot that they were afraid to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from their experiences. As a result, they ended up with little to show for their efforts.

Image by Taylor Heery on Unsplash

Image by Tom Crew on Unsplash

Stop letting perfection inertia halt you in your tracks

This story is a powerful reminder to all of us: perfectionism can lead to inertia. When we are so focused on achieving perfection, we miss the opportunity to learn, grow, and create something unique and beautiful.

But embracing imperfection isn’t just about learning from our mistakes. It’s also about embracing the beauty of the imperfect. In creative fields, as in other areas of life, it’s often the imperfections that make something truly beautiful and unique. A perfectly symmetrical necklace may be technically impressive, but it’s the slight asymmetry, the small imperfections, that can give the same piece its character and charm.

So, the next time you find yourself striving for perfection, remember the lesson of the pottery class. Embrace imperfection, learn from your mistakes, and don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s through trial and error that we discover our true potential and create something truly extraordinary.

Thea’s handmade Peach Cane reversible earrings are perfectly imperfect.

Embrace Imperfection, Embrace Creativity

In the end, the most important lesson we can learn from the pottery class parable is this: creativity thrives in an environment of experimentation, risk-taking, and imperfection. So, whether you’re a jewellery maker, a writer, or a musician, don’t be afraid to embrace imperfection. It’s often the imperfect, the flawed, and the unexpected that lead to the most beautiful and creative results.

With love and creativity.

Thea x

Further reading

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