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Skill Versus Creativity

Watching the throw down has brought home to me the importance for someone working with clay to develop both skill in working with clay but also their creative voice. This is often tricky for makers - myself included. The two have to go hand in hand to make good work but both take time and effort to develop often leaving a maker in a quandary as to what to concentrate on.

The great pottery throwdown

Let's take throwing for example. This is a skill that takes quite a lot of effort to build. For a long time the photo thrower will be tentative with their pieces especially when they make a bigger piece or a wider bowl, they just won't want to risk spoiling it and therefore they immediately limit themselves and the potential of that piece. Anyone who sticks with throwing will I believe master it in the end - it isn't a black art but is just about hours spent on the wheel. I have however known throwers who having reached a good level of competence then at a loss as to how to decorate their pieces in a way that makes them unique and individual. And after all we buy handmade work for these properties . . . as well as to support craftspeople ;)

In the throw down you see people let down by one or other of these two, probably in part because of time pressure as well as the pressure of having to perform so publicly. And then there is the issue of taste. If I find a piece horribly tasteless does that mean it is in fact horribly tasteless or am I being a snob?

I take my hat off to those that take part in the Throw Down, I would never be brave enough to put myself on the line like that. So well done to all those that have and do, it makes for excellent entertainment, and I do feel for them as they suffer which inevitably they seem to in some part of the experience.