Quality vs. Quantity

Ceramic Rainbow Cups by Clementina van der Walt

“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 the 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 weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce 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.”

Via Design Sojourn.

0 thoughts on “Quality vs. Quantity

  1. Steffi says:

    Beautiful ceramic cups by by Clementina .Quality is really important.As my school time I worked(for pocket money) in the holidays in a small ceramic factory where my dad worked.That was very interesting to see the production of ceramic products.It was a hard work there because in the former GDR (from where I come from) the worker had no modern working places there.But nevertheless my wish was to working there after my school time as ceramic painter (paint the cups,vases,…).But unfortunately I received this job.But this is a longer story…
    Have a nice weekend and greetings to Anne if you see her!

  2. Anja says:

    It’s so true, you have to keep turning those pots to understand and learn from the process and with the scale of quality versus quantity, the process of good art and design plays an important part too; as in the marriage of good shape and surface treatment; Clementina pulls that all off with flying colours.
    And Steffi, you have to tell us more about the ceramic and the longer story…
    Thanks Wendren for an interesting post.
    Anja

  3. clementina says:

    Thanks for a pic of my work alongside that story…it seems to have a sort of zen ring to it. Repetition, meditation, a consistent return to the focus…and the journey unfolds. Even though one is often so part of it, one cannot step back and see…and yet the aim for me is to produce the perfect pot..a lifetime surely and it will probably never happen, but it is the journey not the end that has the meaning I guess.

  4. elisa says:

    what a great story. it does seem that when you are asked to do quality work you get so wraped up in it that you can’t get any work done! i once had a roomate in art school who spent so much time working on a piece that i don’t think he ever finished one (at least during the time in school).

    clementina’s work is so beautiful. i love the colors and simple design.

  5. Meg says:

    I’ve found this in my own work, if I spend too much time trying to make things right and perfect before actually getting to work — I hardly get anything done.
    But once I just start going at it, I learn about how to make it better and end up with a lot of good things.