Audacious Pottery Goals: How Failure Fuels Innovation

One year ago today, I published a blog post titled, “Where Will You Be One Year From Today?” This was my goal:

“One year from today, my goal is to break ground on a new pottery studio that supports future pottery production with 100% solar fired pottery.”

I failed. I still live in the same tiny apartment that I lived in while writing “A Potter’s Journey” years ago, and I work in the same dirty, old studio. The pottery is fired with 100% of whatever fuel is generated by the electric company.

It’s not the first time I’ve failed so publicly…far from it. You can read all about my most gut-wrenching failures in this American Craft Council blog series, “A Potter’s Journey.”

But having BIG dreams, even when you might fail, fuels innovation. Today is also the 2 year anniversary of the time I set the Guinness World Records™ title for ‘most pots thrown in one hour by an individual.’

Most of the World Record Pottery Planters have been given away, purchased by people globally and opened remarkable new doors to new fans and celebrities alike. It almost didn’t happen, because I threw my back out practicing, which can be a serious problem for potters. Pushing through that failure led to achieving the ridiculous goal of actually braking the record- on a kick-wheel, for the first time in history!

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”

James Cameron, filmmaker, philanthropist, and deep-sea explorer, qtd. in Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

This doesn’t mean you should let your ego run wild, trying to be better than everyone. It means that audacious goals will bring you to EPIC new heights, even if it’s not the heights you expected. You, and everyone around you, will achieve what you never thought was possible.

I might live in a tiny apartment, with the same dirty, old studio, but that apartment is shared with the love of my life. We’ve already drawn a floor plan for the studio we hope to build together and we’re saving money. We’re also setting more audacious goals and feeding inspiration into our artistic careers, like this trip to NYC to meet Neil deGrasse Tyson at the StarTalk Radio Patreon Party….

Photo by Justin Starr PhotographyTwitter: @urbanastronycInsta and Facebook: @justinstarrphotography

…or our annual trip to the Rocky Mountains to escape the madness of modern life for a short time, to relax in the vast mountainous landscape.

 

Dream Big, Start Small

Even little actions, like this technique I developed to reduce cracking in my “hump thrown” pottery, can have profound long-term effects. I use this technique every time I throw pottery, and millions of people have been captivated by it.

Plan Long-Term

The American Craft Council and I created a relationship through a series of blog post and interviews, but now it’s time for us to keep doing whatever work is required to grow a strong, thriving craft community for all of us. That’s why I signed up to exhibit “Big Pots” and new sculptural art at their ACC St. Paul Show this year.

Giving Back

cherricopottery.com/awards was designed solely for this reason, also sponsored by the American Craft Council.

P.s…

Do you want to see Cherrico Pottery in person, alongside hundreds of professional artists? April 20-22nd we’re setting up at the ACC St. Paul Show in Minneapolis exhibiting a selection of Big Pots, Cosmic Mugs and performing Live demos. Hope to see you there!

3 Replies to “Audacious Pottery Goals: How Failure Fuels Innovation”

  1. I remember your post. I took a screen shot of my goal i commented and marked the day on my calendar. I also did not reach my goal so i shall try again. It’s crazy how fast time flies.

  2. Your an inspiration Joel, and I applaud your eternal optimism. Keep making your magic, and inspiring people like myself to follow their dreams.

  3. One of my favorite quotes…
    The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
    Michelangelo

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