As I have browsed the blogsphere this morning, I noticed quite a few entries on both sides of the perfectionism fence, and just had to add my two cents as well.
( See? It’s not a perfect Celtic scrolling vine covered plaque- but it sure is a pretty necklace holder! It’s not perfect, but I love it anyway!)
I struggle with perfectionism in my life and for the longest time it prevented me from even attempting to make things, much less be happy with them when I did manage to assemble something, because it wasn’t “perfect”. Then I met my husband, who has a very strong work ethic, and he taught me that “perfect isn’t beautiful”. This might be a little shocking to all you artists who work so hard to get every seam, ruffle, line and edge perfectly straight, crisp or clean, but what he taught me has made me a better person and a MUCH happier crafter. Before, by taking the time to berate myself for not having the “right” fabric, tools, supplies, etc I was robbing myself of precious crafting time, and I was also severely hurting my own self esteem . My design ideas weren’t “good enough” to make patterns from? Nonsense! Doesn’t every designer start with an idea? Where did I think those patterns came from? Trial and error? Or when I couldn’t doodle an idea because it was a waste of paper? Not so! My husband, who is a middle school English teacher, taught me that writing multiple drafts for book reports and essays make a paper better, so why wouldn’t the same technique work for my designs? To make my work better I must make several drafts, refining and redrafting over and over to find the proper fit, line, color-way or structure, regardless of how it looks. And I have discovered in the process that perfect is- kinda not pretty. It can be soulless, cool, artificial looking. And above everything else, it’s not really me. When something I’ve made looks perfect, I am never happy with it, and don’t feel that it suits me, and I end up putting it in a box- never to see the light of day again. Oh sure, sometimes I take them out, take a real hard look at it and then start refashioning it. Ripping out a seam here and there does a lot for a cold impersonal thing, and goes a long way towards making it beautiful- to me. And that’s more important to me than what someone else is going to think of my work. I don’t worry about crooked lines so much as I think about a strong seam, and my color choices are in my personal taste- which is a very personal choice indeed. Have you ever tried to make something in a color you didn’t like? uh-huh. Next to impossible, isn’t it? That’s why I don’t worry about making something perfect. Because it is next to impossible to anticipate, plan, and assemble something that everyone on the planet is going to like. Just focus on what you adore, and in the end, it will be perfect.