I taught school for nearly 34 years. The last 10 years I was caught up in what is called high stakes testing. The students were asked to get as close as possible to ‘level 4’ which was then the highest level & considered mastery of whatever given area being tested.
Failure to achieve this often resulted in remedial classes which were supposed to help,but often did not.
Fast forward to the last decade since my retirement from teaching school and I’m caught right in the middle of what students face. Failure to make my ideas come about, frustration and the thoughts of stopping or even worse quitting making art.
I am fortunate enough to realize that most of what was shoved at me as a teacher and students about failure was wrong. Failure does not imply anything other than you need to start again. You did not get where you wanted to go. In fact failure is a gift. It can only defeat you if you stop working or worse yet quit. Then where will you find yourself in 20 years? With the thought that you could have continued on with your art but didn’t. Not winding up in that boat.
I have lots of customers who come into my booth and tell me …..’Oh, I was introduced to (enameling) when I was at school or camp ‘blah blah’ when I was young. I think, “Really? In 2 weeks of summer camp you managed to master cloisonné, champleve or plique a jour? Techniques that have left master enamelists bewildered and frustrated. I usually smile and let them ramble on, often finding out that they did not go near a kiln that reached temperatures of 1500-1800 degrees of heat. I ask them why they stopped if they liked it so much and the reasons are many. We all have so many reasons why we stop or quit. It’s hard, I failed, it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.
No kidding? How can you expect to get where you want to go the first time out? As for me I’m not quitting or stopping until I can’t anymore. My failures are chances to start again, start again, start again.