Saturday, December 27, 2014

Embracing the Failure...

I just realized this is my last post here at AJE for 2014!  Looking forward to a new year of designing, making, experimentation, and yes, failing!  It seems that 2014 has actually been full of those last 2 for me!  I jumped in and tried some new things...polymer clay, kiln enameling, metal clay are the stand outs in my mind.  I am excited to say, I had lots of success.  All those mediums have learning curves.

There were failures, though...remember these?

Ugh...I haven't tried kiln enameling since, but it is definitely on my list to play with again soon!

Sometimes, failures just happen.  They are a surprise and we have to go back and think of what we could have done to prevent it.  The above enameling debacle was really no surprise, it was just my novice approach after my torch-firing successes.

This one came as a total surprise to me.  I made 2, one came out perfectly, but this one had a big old crack. :(  What did I do differently with it?  Hindsight made me remember there was a tiny scratch as my file slipped while cleaning it up.  Had that weakened the piece?  Possibly.

Some of you remember this from my FB page...

I was so bummed!  I felt really stoked about carving the cross stamp and was so happy with it.  As it dried, something bumped it, or knocked it, and it just snapped.  I almost cried.  I set out to repair it, though and several layers of slip, drying & sanding later I was satisfied that I was going to succeed.

The back side of repaired piece...just one more bit of cleanup!
Fast forward to after firing.  I took it out of the kiln and inspected it.  It looked good, albeit a  bit curved.  No problem, after clean up, I will flatten with my rubber mallet and steel block.   Which I did!

Hmm, yeah.  Well, obviously, all that tender love and repair care had not worked.  I had smoothed the outside over cosmetically, but the fatal flaw was not fixed.  Lesson learned.

Not to be defeated, I am already trying to come up with a mixed-media design to incorporate the pieces...maybe riveted to copper with beaded wire around the break? Maybe a bezel with resin?

A little E-6000 will hold it together long enough for me to trace a backplate and decide what to do next!
So from me, Happy New Year.  I hope 2015 brings lots of joy, happiness and peace....and just enough failure to keep you striving to do better ;)!


  1. Sometimes our best pieces come from the learning we do when we make mistakes. They are part of the learning.

  2. To give the cross a really unique look, I put two holes in the top part of the cross and two in the bottom then link them with some small chain. Just a thought.

  3. Thanks for sharing your not so perfect creations Melissa. I have a few piles myself. All in the learning process right? Happy new year!

  4. Lots of ceramic fails for me this past year. But I'm learning to embrace it, reluctantly, as part of the learning process.


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