Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Quality of the Day

"To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts." - Henry David Thoreau

This - this right here - is the main reason I make pots. While I wouldn't describe what we do as "the highest of arts" - not sure that is a crown anyone can claim - to affect the quality of the day is exactly what I am trying to do when I make a pot.

Making things affects the quality of my day, when I make them; especially the throwing day, and the unloading day. It is such a satisfying feeling, to make something, and to know it is good. But that isn't what I mean. I want the pots to be out in the world, affecting the quality of the users' days. I want them to enjoy their morning coffee a bit more, get a little joy-zing when they water their plants or unload the dishwasher. A beautiful object, that is also useful, can do that just through intimate association. An object that is special in some way can remind you that you, too, are special: unique, beloved to someone; perhaps yourself.

If a pot makes your day go a tiny bit better, the potter has done her or his job.

I may have mentioned the Nudge theory here before. I may have been using the term incorrectly; I made it up but then it turns out it is an actual behavioral science term that means something specific to do with manipulation. I just want to make the world better by making individual people's days better, in the smallest of ways. I want them to touch the marks I made with my hands with their fingertips, and feel connected to another person, the maker. I want them to take those good feelings out in the world and smile at the cashier at Rite-Aid, let a driver into the lane of traffic, refrain from correcting someone who doesn't need correcting at work. This is a lot to hope for, from a mug, but I like to think some days it works.

In more prosaic news, my camera has conked out. I have anotherone, pretty good, but it doesn't fit my tripod, or have a remote control, so it won't work for taking pottery photos. Dammitdammitdammitdammit. But I guess nothing lasts forever. In a month that saw a roof replacement, a chimney rebuild, and a number of auto misfortunes, it may be a while before I can replace that camera!

Still I am not in a mood to complain. Maybe this is my Nudge theory in action, but homemade pickles and handmade earrings are reminding me that I am special, and I am loved.

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