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The Quality of What You Create Should Last For Generations

We live in an age where it is easy to create and share. But whose responsibility is it to create work of the highest quality – living up to exacting standards that even your audience doesn’t expect?

My wife brought home a cup that she bought at a second-hand shop, a cup that was crafted by a local artist out of pottery. The artist felt it wasn’t perfect, and thus, she couldn’t sell it in her gallery.

The video above tells the story, and why it is important for creators to consider how their work should create a legacy that lasts for generations.

Thanks.
-Dan

  • Having spent most of my career in graphics and publishing, I can attest to the problem of “good enough”. The problem with the artist was she had a vision in her head of what she wanted that piece to be and it didn’t turn out like she pictured. Therefore, it was imperfect. There’s nothing wrong with it to the rest of us, but to her mind it’s not what she intended. We fought this every single day on every publication. There was the high standard of what we intended to produce, tempered by the time we were given to do it, tempered by limitations of technology and what-not. At the end of the day, I could look at the piece and point to things that might be a pica off here and there. A font that didn’t print right (I selected one font, but the printer substituted another, for instance). A color I meant to be bright blue turned out not so bright. Thing is…YOU as the customer have no idea I intended it and so to you, it’s perfect. You can read it, the font is fine, the blue is…blue. To me? It’s a disappointment. To you? It’s art. So it’s  a life long learning process of knowing when to say “it’s good enough.” It sounds like a cop-out but really what it means is nobody will EVER know what was in my head when I created this thing, and so if it doesn’t match that vision that doesn’t make it a failure. As long as someone else loves it, gets meaning from it, enjoys it, is entertained by it…then I’ve succeeded. It’s a hard lesson to learn. I’d say some never do. It’s easier when you have a million dollar press and a dozen workers waiting for your file to get over that “but it’s not what I intended” bump. They don’t care what you intended either, they just care that they get the thing printed and get to go home lol.

    • Thanks Melinda! I suppose this is where we cross that line from “merely” production into something akin to “craft” or “art.” Not sure. But you make such a good point about the role of vision in the process. That it could be a high quality output, but if it doesn’t align to the original vision, it can be seen as missing the mark. 
      -Dan

  • Great story!  Thanks for sharing. Diana

  • Florence Ditlow

    I’m a former potter. Sometimes when you produce a piece, it will make sounds that lead you to suspect the glaze won’t hold through hot liquids. It may look fine, but later crack.
    I thought about quality in producing my novel, in research, keeping characters real and the cover photo…I spent hours on the cover title font. Like another writer says, “I keep refining the product, until it’s the best I have.”

    • Florence,
      Oooh, I love considering this idea of quality in terms of TIME. That perhaps right now, it is high quality. But knowing that it won’t last, that in 3 or 10 or 50 years, a crack will emerge. Or a story will seem dated. Love this – have to give it more thought. Thanks for sharing that!
      -Dan