My fellow pottery blogging buddy Tony Clennell just posted his admission of self doubt that the conferences he has been invited to speak at this year were really meant for him. He puts it like this:
In the next year I am a presenter at the Icheon Festival in Korea, The International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales and then in 2016 the North Carolina Potters Conference. Should I be scared? Ya, I should be! Is it all talk and not walk? Will I stumble? Will I be the weakest link?
Plenty of people who know and love Tony chimed in and offered their belief in him as a testament to why he was chosen for these honors. I think most of us have moments of self doubt, but even if we fail, even if we are the weakest link, its not always about the impression we think we’ve made. With potters its usually also about the community that is there to catch us as we fall (and if you are reading this, that means YOU). Which is why so many folks did their best to counter Tony’s self doubts. Here’s what I told him:
Tony, I think a little self doubt is healthy. It reveals the humility and human decency that you bring to the world. You are a down to earth potter, and down to earth doesn’t always square with the lime light. I’d be more worried if you felt completely at home there. But what you should not doubt is that you have something worth sharing. Even the players get to learn something from each other. But also, what we get to share in events like these is our sense of community, that we belong. Its not just a divided world of presenter and those presented to but a fellowship of learners and practitioners. And each of us is part of that no matter what level our abilities or experiences. What you bring to the table is your own unique insight into the life of a potter, some technical stuff that will surprise a few folks, your own sense of beauty and aesthetic value, some hard earned practical wisdom, but most importantly you bring yourself. And from what I know, Tony Clennell is a pretty awesome guy.