Quantity is Not Counter to Quality

We may often hear the adage Quantity vs Quality. This may seem like a piece of wisdom, that creating a lot of something precludes our ability to do it well. Perhaps this comes from mechanization taking over hand crafting. The mechanized product is generic and of low quality whereas the individual artisan takes their time to produce something of beauty.

But if we look at that artisan, the most successful creators create A LOT. If you want to get in your 10,000 hours, if you want to allow yourself room to take risks, make mistakes, and acquire the experience required for innovation, technical excellence, and beauty you need to create lots.

A study was conducted in a US midwest art school where half of a ceramics class was told that they were going to be graded on quality, the other half that they were going to be graded by weight of pottery produced. The half graded on quality produced fewer pieces and of generally low quality. The half graded by weight certainly produced more but they also produced significantly more pieces of high quality. They were not frozen out by perfectionism, they got more time in, allowed themselves to take more risks, and kept their creative juices flowing.

Is quality important? Yes. But in many cases one must find it through quantity. Go out there and create and create lots! Judge yourself by your body of work, not each individual piece.