Perfectionistic Murder

My perfectionistic nature finally caused me problems tonight. In an attempt to create a ceramic piece on the wheel tonight I managed to make an almost complete piece collapse into absolute ruin. The piece was taking the shape of a bowl, and getting to be almost completely symetrical and smooth, except for a small defect on the inside, one of the interior walls was a little lumpy near the base. As a result of smoothing that wall down to match the others, the adjacent wall collapsed. This occuring nearly brought me to tears immediately, but I toughened up and started looking for positive things in the failure. I can say one thing for sure about the piece, I had it PERFECTLY centered on the wheel head (the remains of the collapsed piece served to prove this). In addition, the piece had a nearly perfect base (roughly half an inch), which was holding to the wheel unquestionably. For the night I have given up on the wheel, but I plan to work on it some more during the weekend, if I can get that close to having a piece I am happy with then it is definately worth trying again. I have only recently (in the past year or so) become a perfectionist, but it is having a horrible impact on my life. I need to find the right balanace between perfectionist and slacker. It is a tough internal conflict.
After the collapse I questioned why I actually enjoy working with the wheel and clay in general and I couldn’t find any answer that followed a logical path of any type, but I did find an answer that was more of an emotional path. My grandmother and I used to work with my old pottery wheel a lot every summer and we had several nice creations, so there is a link there, but there is more to it than just those memories. I love working with my hands, even though recently I have become very “clean natured”. I used to maintain a decent small garden every year, but haven’t done it seriously since 1993, when my grandfather sold his store. I have had gardens since then and done some stuff with my parents’s garden, but nothing like what I used to do. I have intentions of having a garden this year, I am focusing on herbs and stuff though, so I can have some stuff that I don’t have to worry about preparing garden soil for too much (Herbs for me are a dish-garden event). Sticking my hands into wet clay is a very good feeling for me. It gives me a sense of control as I direct the clay in how it is to act, however, the clay gives a constant reminder that too much force cant be used, or collapse will occur. Balance, interaction and focus are all required during the ceramic creation proccess, or collapse will occur (Notice a reoccuring theme here). I am realizeing at this point that because tonight’s creation wasn’t a total failure I am regretting disposing of it. The piece had a failed wall, but the wall was still intact and the other half of the piece was still standing, and was nearly perfect. The only reason I could even call tonight’s end result a failure is because nothing physically exists as evidence to what went RIGHT tonight. My first instinct with an errored piece seems to be to lift the walls of it and impload the piece back into a ball (even though the clay needs to be reworked before its next project). I made many advancements in my abilities with the new wheel tonight, and with that fact I am happy. Maybe at some point I can train myself to not be so perfectionistic. In addition, I need to get to the point where when something happens that takes the piece off course, I can just stop the wheel and accept whatever final output occurs.
Overall tonight, nothing physically lost, nothing physically gained, but a lot learned.