I'm obsessed with weight. When I close my eyes I can feel the excess pulling me down, as though gravity works differently on me. When I compare myself to others, even good friends who I love and adore I come up lacking. I find myself jealous, coveting their ability to shape, mold and sculpt into perfection, while I'm left with what seems like some half-finished vessel that may technically work but doesn't seem to bring me as much joy on a day-to-day basis.
Some friends tell me to go to the internet or Instagram for inspiration. But nobody shows their failed attempts. What I see feels unattainable, and in this day and age I question whether or not what I'm seeing is even real or if the images have been touched up, filtered and photoshopped. I spend countless hours in the basement working on my form, while my wife sits upstairs, occasionally coming down to ask me when we're going to spend time together. How can I tell her it's an obsession not of my making? That there's a part of me that wishes I was content so that I could go back upstairs and just relax complacently on the couch?
This time of the year is difficult for me. I spend more time at potlucks, craft fairs and friends houses than any other time of the year. Often I find myself holding a mug of egg nog thinking "Damn, this mug is so light! How did they do that?"
Wait...What did you think I was talking about?
Yes, I'll admit it. I'm obsessed with the weight of my ceramic mugs. It's amazing how the right weight in a mug can make all the difference between my new favourite and yet another ceramic creation destined for the garden.
But isn't it amazing how pottery mimics life? The judgement, the comparison to others, the coveting, and the belief that somehow others have it "all together"? When I walk through the art gallery near my house I see mugs, bowls and teapots beautifully shaped without a single ounce of excess clay. I marvel at how nice each piece is and I'm always tempted to think to myself "I could never make something that nice". You've probably thought the same thing when you're flipping through fitness magazines.
What I'm now trying to see in the art gallery and the instagram posts are the failed attempts behind the success. The kiln loads of pottery that was fired too hot or too cold, the glaze that didn't work as expected, the new clay body that didn't behave as it should. The hours spent at the pottery wheel or in the gym that goes unnoticed and ignored that are necessary to create the perfect mug. Because let's face it, most of our bodies are basically one big coffee mug!