Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I was revisiting some of my pottery earlier today for a shop update and dug out this sea urchin. I really, really love it. It is so far from perfect that it may be the closest to art of anything that I've made. I left bumpy clay, handprints, and tool marks on the surface, which I usually try not to do. 2/3 of the spines fell off before and during its first firing, but I liked the random design that was left so I glazed it anyway.

As I look at it now, I realize that I've changed a lot this year, because last year this piece, with its rough areas and complete disregard for machine-like perfection would have landed it in the trash. Now I feel an almost maternal affection for it. I hesitated to list it with my other work because it is SO marked by my hands, but I'm letting go of my drive for perfect and waiting to see what happens. If it's gone by the end of the week, it will probably be because I took it off and put it somewhere in the house to reflect on more.

I've never been easy on myself- demanding more and more - good grades, good works, good meals, better-quality products for my customers, faster and more and more. This summer it all came to a screeching halt. And it was hard to deal with not being able to do it all. It is still hard to deal with not being able to do it all. My responsibility to my family - my husband and my child, parents and inlaws- means letting go of my self-imposed ideas of perfection. I think that this may be why this little urchin speaks to me. Imperfect is better than just ok. It can be beautiful.

Onward. onward.