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The Importance of Metaphors

As an English major, I loved metaphors. As a regular, everyday human, not always so much. As it stands, there are a lot of metaphors that one can make out of my life that are rather painful. So, I chose to pick one that is less loaded.


I am not particularly artistic, but I love designing and creating things with my hands (just don’t ask me to knit, crochet, or throw pottery, lol!)... My talents require a forgiving medium, and I have found that working in fused glass does just that.


Every Monday, I spend approximately three hours creating projects that I will eventually give (primarily) as gifts. I often lose myself in the project I am creating, and as I master more skill sets, I ask fewer and fewer questions about how to execute a work in progress.


I should note that I have fired a project more than once (well, once three times!) when the original did not come out of the kiln as expected. Originally, I did not know that a piece could be fired more than once, and here comes my metaphor: in fused glass, as in life, we often do not know how things will turn out.


Take my most recent project: I made a 10” cake plate (photo) with fused glass flowers and greenery around the border of the plate. I didn’t allow as much time for the project as I should have, yet miraculously finished it in record time. Did it turn out as I’d imagined? Not quite. Was it perfect? No. Am I perfect? No. But, and I say, BUT, did my mother, for whom it was meant as a Very Important Birthday gift intended for the desert presentation, like it? Why, yes, yes, she LOVED it!


Some hope, some pray, that our lives end up looking like what we have planned it to be. I would argue we should spend less time forcing our lives into a pre-made mold and more time embracing the beautiful thing that evolves into being. That way, we’d kick our perfectionism to the curb and realize that most of what we create – in glass or life – is, in fact, beautiful, whether it looks exactly as we’d planned it to or not.


If we try (and at times try and try) to remember that when something that doesn’t turn out the way we expected (e.g., a relationship, a GPA – even something as minor and inconsequential and imperfect as a hand-made a cake plate), it’s an opportunity to work on our perfectionism.


I gave my mom an imperfect cake plate. Despite its imperfections – and maybe, just maybe, because of them – she thought it was wonderful. She did not judge my work. Rather, she recognized the time and effort that went into creating it. I came away from the experience with a renewed appreciation for “I am enough.” Not “I am good enough,” just “I am enough.” That’s all I have to be – that’s all we need to be.


So, (back to metaphors) since we don’t know exactly how life or art projects will turn out, the best we can do is ride this crazy thing called life to the best of our abilities – after all, “Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

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