Aphorisms for Artists by Walter Darby Bannard

Aphorism #82

Listen to your materials, not your ego.

Years ago, a ceramics instructor tried to show our class the limits of stoneware clay by turning a bowl on a wheel until it collapsed.

The bowl grew ever bigger and thinner, and the instructor became more and more annoyed because it wouldn’t cave in. Finally, I begged her to stop trying to ruin what had become a very beautiful form and let me glaze it. Reluctantly, and with obvious irritation, she agreed.

When I came the next day the bowl lay crumpled in the waste bucket.

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