One Thousand Vases

A song that moves me is the most powerful thing I know. But how can someone create that? Do they write a melody, then move its notes, changing it and perfecting it like a civil engineer? Building a song in the way a person designs a bridge sounds sensible. That way it might be perfect. It might become a thing so beautiful that people want to cling on the edges of each note. It would be breathtaking. But it doesn’t work.

In the book “Art & Fear” a story is told of a class of pottery makers which is split in two by its teacher. One half will be graded on a single vase submitted at semester’s end. The other half is to be graded solely on the number of vases they create. Every student in the group focused on producing more for their grade becomes a superior potter than those who are judged solely on a single work.

Artists of all kinds get attached to creating good work. What does the artist really give up if they make producing more Work the goal?  What do they gain?  

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