Quality vs. Quantity

Preview of my sculpture assignment that’s due on Wednesday. After last week’s class I was a strong believer that making plaster casts out of plaster molds was not a wise idea, but eight hours of plaster and vaseline later, I do not even care anymore– I just want to move on to the next assignment.

An interesting read from freshman seminar: “The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weight the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produced only one pot– albeit a perfect one– to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work– and learning from their mistakes– the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”

As we head into midterms I remain very unsure about the work that I’ve been producing for my courses; there’s no doubt the the quality could be better, but at the rate that we’re churning things out, it’s very probable that I’m improving. I know that I’m learning a lot more about art-making then I had known before college, so if anything, that is what I’m going to take out of this– plaster and all.

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