This is a time perhaps only craftspeople can really understand. (And maybe their partners!) The time that if you were honest about when working out your hourly rate of pay would really put you closer to.. um.. $3 an hour? The time that to truly answered the question "How is your work going?" would make people back away from you slowly at parties. And the time that requires a great deal of faith.
I have several goals in mind. I am continuing to explore colours for my stained porcelain works, attempting to develop a colour palette of translucent, high gloss glazes for a new collection of porcelain tableware and believe it or not I am still searching for my ideal, clear stoneware glaze.
While I have a vague vision of things in my mind I am always open to being led by unexpected results. I think you need to have an open mind at this stage otherwise you can end up feeling like you are banging your head against a brick wall.
The testing process is a little like reading a book. You are excited to begin and as things slowly progress, and if the book is good you become immersed. But sometimes you don't like where it has taken you and occasionally you are better off just putting the damn thing down and starting another before you waste any more hours, days... weeks.
A potter must test. These are the good, hard yards. It is how we get to know our materials, develop ideas, discover new things and expand our language. And every now and then the results are magic.