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Lately, in the QotW pool, Evelyne asked: What does success mean to you?

 

I find this to be a very difficult question. There are all sorts of success out there. I used to be that I would consider a day when I could get a piece of work off of the wheel that seemed reasonably well thrown, even though it might be a little off center, or have flat edges in the curves or would have proportions that were not quite right, or even thin rims or other areas. Later on it was the consistent small success just mentioned that extended into a day of those successes. Then came the day when those consistent successes seemed to not have those off tune minor defects that would detract from the overall satisfaction of the daily success.

Now, as I look back on these "successes" I find that today a success is to throw, construct, combine or create forms that have the visual interest I am looking for in the surface, are creatively functional, and please my sense of design in form - well. To work on a series of teapots, chalices, or even simple apple bakers and feel that they are aesthetically and functionally in tune is a successful day. 

I realize that all so often the feeling is often thought of as in the amount of folding lettuce you hold in your fingers at the end of a show, or the big award of the show stopper that won first place, but for me, the little successes have sustained me in my joy of making pots much more than the cash flow has. I guess that is why I am not so much a professional potter, but more a hobbyist or teaching potter.

 

best,

Pres

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Success for me is not the rush of a pot well thrown, the sale of ten spoon rests, or how great that glaze combo came out. Success to me, at this point in time, means sustaining the discipline to keep on truckin', in most areas of life.  For me, it's all about an interconnected state of balance.  Maintaining a reasonable balance in functioning (which requires discipline) is success to me.  If I indulge my aversion to showers in the winter, chomp on potato chips in opposition to managing health, and overspend a credit card, all of that ends up generating a great big YUK that I internalize. Internalized YUK results in  externalized YUK, and not wanting to slog through the day.  By extension, that means not even going into the studio, or not attaining anything productive once I make myself show up.  So success, for me, at it's essence, is showing up and following "directions". 

 

 

Babs likes this

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I love this question because I can set my own rules.  I get asked this often in real estate circles. 

You can both have your own standard but yet say it’s objective, but still disagree with someone’s own standard. 

for instance 

I can say success is finding ones personal happiness with clay. But if one is happy making under fired functional pots and selling them to the pulic I personally would not label them as a success. 

There are Potter’s that I admire as successful even if they do not consider themselves to have reached their own standard of success. 

Daydreamimg I think of how deeply I would love to make a full time income from pottery. I also dream of making work that touches somebody’s soul and of course having my work recognized as “great” by ceramic magazines and by other successful artists. But realistically If I make that my standard  I will not likely find happiness. So I choose to find happiness in the studio when creating. 

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success

1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

2. The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.

3. A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.

4. archaic  - The good or bad outcome of an undertaking.

In pottery we can pretty well rule out #2.

I would tend to go for #1 or 4. I like the idea that just finishing and reaching your goal is enough.

You don't have to find the meaning of life .... just accomplish what you set out to do. That is very satisfying.

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Good list, Chris. I like #1 and #4 too. What they mean to me:

#1 to achieve making something that really satisfies what I intended and beyond

#4 the learning curve is forever there. Gaining insight makes the journey continue.

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My idea of success has changed drastically over the past few months as I have been reading endlessly about experts in various fields who have different perspectives on what they do than most other experts in their field. The thing that I have gained most from reading those books is that I grossly underestimated the amount of time people spend doing average work day and day out until they reach their happenstance moment into a new thought process that is revolutionary. A lot of them are just normal people working through their lives like every other person, the difference is that when they have their happenstance moment they embrace it and can't stop thinking about it.

Success to me is now doing what I do every day normally and just waiting for the happenstance moments to come. I have had plenty of them and almost all of them have been that exact thing, happenstance. I used to think that I needed to rush every moment and that if I wasn't working hard towards something I would never be an expert in my life. I have now reasoned that I don't need to work towards a specific future, but work in enjoyment and find moments and things in my work that I enjoy and focus on them, and that my unique future will come from my unique happenstances. Just finding ways to make life better at every moment is a success, and in doing this, no failures can happen because they are all learning moments. 

 

LeeU and Marcia Selsor like this

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On 1/11/2018 at 12:48 PM, Chris Campbell said:

4. archaic  - The good or bad outcome of an undertaking.

This applies everytime I sit down at the wheel, weigh out another series of tiles or open another kiln.

Edited by C.Banks

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I have one singular goal in life, which will be the measure of my success: to be a happy old person.

There are several components to this. 1) to look back on my years and feel good about how I spent my time, with no regrets about things I did or didn’t do. 2) to have meaningful and interesting ways to spend my time as an elderly person. 3) to set myself up with a secure financial situation.

Everything I do is with these things in mind.

I’ve seen enough people getting older and feeling miserable about it. My last years will be spent celebrating, not miserating. A few times, I have met elderly people who were clearly having a ball. Those people are spreading joy, and I’m going to be one of them. 

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Depends on the subject:

a successful slab-built pot is one with no cracks (or none that stop the pot from functioning).

A successful life is contentment.  Being your own self and yet not harming others.

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6 hours ago, Joseph F said:

Just finding ways to make life better at every moment is a success, and in doing this, no failures can happen because they are all learning moments. 

This, above, and this (GEP) "I have one singular goal in life, which will be the measure of my success: to be a happy old person." have prompted me to double-dip and extend my answer, since the question has continued to percolate in my mind all week.  Reading other people's perspectives/experiences has been quite illuminating.  It's too late for me to build financial security with any wiggle room, but I have enough; it's too late to not have regrets with consequences that cannot be undone, but  there has been healing/resolution (and not creating new problems, for self or others); it is too late for a do-over of the past, but not too late to celebrate the present and find ways to make life better, to learn, and have a blast. 

I am finding that making things out of clay, and sharing them with others, is a purposeful activity that is a recognized accomplishment, a good and satisfying  outcome of my time and effort, seasoned with just a dash of pride, kept in check by the having good sense to be humble and grateful for the opportunity to attain "success".    

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On 1/12/2018 at 8:38 AM, GEP said:

I have one singular goal in life, which will be the measure of my success: to be a happy old person.

There are several components to this. 1) to look back on my years and feel good about how I spent my time, with no regrets about things I did or didn’t do. 2) to have meaningful and interesting ways to spend my time as an elderly person. 3) to set myself up with a secure financial situation.

Everything I do is with these things in mind.

I’ve seen enough people getting older and feeling miserable about it. My last years will be spent celebrating, not miserating. A few times, I have met elderly people who were clearly having a ball. Those people are spreading joy, and I’m going to be one of them. 

I am a happy old person. Never put it in those terms  but I like them. Define elderly.. not sure I'm there yet.

Marcia

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Marcia Selsor said:

I am a happy old person. Never put it in those terms  but I like them. Define elderly.. not sure I'm there yet.

Marcia

I don't think of you as elderly. You are still working and being very active. I do see you as happy. 

For me, elderly is when I have completely stopped doing anything active, because my physical condition doesn't allow it anymore. And I plan to be happy as a clam. 

Joseph Fireborn likes this

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Sure signs you are elderly:

1. Your favorite music is in the discount rack.

2. You have to explain what a record player is.

3. They give you the senior menu when seated.

4. Receptionist asks for your Medicare card.

5. AARP sends you monthly letters.

6. Your name suddenly becomes sir or ma'am.

7. Blood pressure meds becomes a hot topic.

8. Your conversation starts with; " I remember when."

9. You know who James Dean is.

10. You remember black and white TV.

11. You know how to use a rotary phone.

12. You remember The Ed Sullivan show.

13. You know where Haight Ashbury is.

14. You remember what happened to Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, and Jay Sebring.

15. You did not grow up with central air conditioning.

16. You saw John Jr. Saluting  a horse drawn casket.

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Old, Marcia, elderly? I wonder about the definitions of old anymore. Some are still going strong i their 90's, my Dad. Some are starting second careers in their 60's, and others are pursuing new college degrees. So at any age I would think the old adage usually works.  . . . use it, or lose it. For me it is a matter of getting up in the morning,  spending some time at breakfast with a good book, and then engaging myself with some physical activity if the shop is frozen, or some other activity or not. Lately it has been pounding the stairs to take Christmas to the attic(of which we have a lot of), shoveling 200 feet of double wide sidewalk, or breaking up the ice.:( 

As far as names and such, elderly or retired, or senior citizen, doesn't matter as when I retired I gave up my required name of Mr. Rice for my preferred name of just plain Preston.

In the end, I am blissfully, successfully happy. . . every day!

 

best,

Pres 

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signed up for two classes from Score.  etsy and instagram whatever they are.  success will be staying for the whole class and understanding parts of it.

preston, old is asking for a pint of cole slaw at the deli and being told the server did not know how much that was, what size container did i want.  

Edited by oldlady
D.M.Ernst likes this

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No old means telling someone you couldn't remember the deli on the corner in Altoona back in the 70's because you hadn't graduated from HS in upstate PA til 67.  In another late discussion someone remembered the last rotary dial house phone, I told them I remembered black and white TV and the Lone Ranger on radio. . They asked why TV was in black and white, and who the Lone Ranger was!!

 

best,

Pres

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Pres:

i keep an old rotary phone here, for those times when the power goes out. Cordless and push button phones will not work during power outages, rotary however will. Fortunately only had to use it 2-3 times in the last ten years. By the way, say hello to Tonto.

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First up, success is living from the heart, always. Second, its raising creative, productive kids who love their mama. Third it is continuing to learn in a number of areas, which is particularly meaningful to me as my mother had Alzheimers.

In terms of clay success is improving in my ability to make the things I have in my head. This includes finding clays that feel right in my hands, glazes I like as well (neither glaring my eyes out nor sickly-looking), being able to control better the shape I get off the wheel or even in hand-building, and very much liking the mug I drink from or my favorite plate, both by my hand.

In pottery I am a beginner, so it is all about growth. As a teacher, my vocation, it is about the atmosphere of energetic engagement and trust in my classroom every day and my part in making it work effectively for each student.

 

Edited by Gabby

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