Thursday, 21 March 2013

Perfectly imperfect

While putting some finishing touches on a present for a friend last I found myself musing on how hard it is to be pleased with a project. Maybe it's just me but I find myself fretting about tiny imperfections that nobody will ever, ever see. If it's a present I find myself struggling to not point out every single minutely wonky part to the poor recipient who hadn't noticed. Equally when cooking I find it practically impossible to eat the final product without thinking out loud about how it could be better.

I've come to the conclusion that:
  1. This is daft
  2. It's a tiny bit rude to give somebody something and then proceed to tell them how bad it is
Perfectionism is a great goal. What is the point of doing something if you are not going to try to get it right?

However unrealistic perfectionism is not so great. Bombarded as we are by images of the 'perfect article'. Take a look at pintrest. There isn't  anything wonky there. The fact that behind each photo are hundreds of first attempts, disasters, clever angles, cropping and just a smidgin of airbrushing doesn't occur to you when you are looking at your own work.

Pick up something you like that you bought from a shop. Does it look great?  Now look at it as if you made it. Put your nose right up against it and be just as critical as you are with yourself. See. Bit wonky isn't it? I realised that I had possibly taken pickiness a bit too far when shopping for guest china for work in John Lewis. (I had recently been designing some china mugs for my shop so my 'perfection' antennae was on over drive.) Nothing was good enough. I spotted tiny imperfections that were barely there and nobody else could see.

Aside from the pleasure of creation the whole point of making something is to avoid the mass produced and have something unique. Yes is very good to be self critical and to learn new and better ways of doing things as a result. BUT! It is the tiny imperfections that prove that you spent time and effort on making something.

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