Tag Archives: failure

Learning From Failures–or Not

Looking through my photos, choosing one to headline a particular post, I’m drawn to my disasters. Could it be because there are so many more of them than of anything else (notice how I won’t class an object a success).

I am, if nothing else, on this journey I’m taking, humble. Working with polymer clay after a lifetime as a successful writer is, exactly that, humbling. I’m forced to see how much I don’t know and how inadequate my efforts are in polymer clay.

In the beginning, I was annoyed at my failures, pissed off that things hadn’t gone as I intended. If something didn’t work, I moved on to the next thing. To repeat a project until it did work–that was outside the scope of my imagination.

Until I joined a local polymer clay guild and met women who were in every sense of the word artists. I saw very clearly then the difference between what I was turning out and their projects. They have years ahead of me in working as artists, but they’re gracious and encouraging and never laugh.

So I’ve gone from being someone at the top of her field to an inadequate practitioner of an art form that for some reason has me in its thrall. Now when things don’t work out, I first follow my usual thinking–what can I do to make this look reasonable? I have a collection of objects for whom the answer to that was, nothing.

Just lately, today actually for the first time, I heard one of the polymer clay artists in one of the many Groups on Facebook say something about treating the first object as a trial. Making a second in which you put all you’d learned in the first. Oh. What a novel idea.

That photo at the top is an experiment in a new-to-me technique called–

–and there I left this post. I intended to redo this little dish, with more specific intention and practiced techniques. Instead I did nothing, then started mixing some clay, then started fiddling with the mixed clay, and…

It’s not the little dish. I don’t know what it is, but it’s a turning point for me in this process…

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