Props for Tony

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.

If you don’t know Tony, you should check out his blog, his book, his videos, some great articles about Tony, podcasts with Tony, workshops with Tony, and his pots wherever you can find them.

tc tc1 tc2 tc3 tc4 tc5 tc6 tc7 tc8 tc9


About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
This entry was posted in Art, Ceramics, Clay, Pottery. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Props for Tony

  1. From Seth Godin’s blog this morning:

    “The worst troll is in your head.

    Internet trolls are the commenters begging for a fight, the anonymous critics eager to tear you down, the hateful packs of roving evil dwarves, out for amusement.

    But the one in your head, that voice of insecurity and self-criticism, that’s the one you need to be the most vigilant about.

    Do not feed the troll.

    Do not reason with the troll.

    Do not argue with the troll.

    Most of all, don’t litigate. Don’t make your case, call your witnesses, prove you are right. Because the troll knows how to sway a jury even better than you do.

    Get off the troll train. Turn your back, walk away, ship the work”

  2. tony clennell says:

    Carter You are the best!

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