A Reflection on Imperfection

Looking good corners!

Looking good corners!

As I finished up this month’s block for our Saturday Sampler, I looked at the center of my pinwheels and noticed that they did not match up (nest) perfectly.  Bummer.  Then I looked over at my  corners and realized that all of the points lined up correctly.  Okay, so I have one center that isn’t exact versus four corners (with contrasting fabric) that do.  I’m going to choose to focus on those near perfect corners instead of the slightly off, barely noticeable, center.

Making anything by hand is going to inherently have some sort of imperfection, an obvious stamp that a person and not a machine created it.  When I peruse antique shops, what I appreciate is all of the things made by people that have withstood the test of time.  The quilts made out of patches of clothing with slightly unmatched corners, the dovetails on drawers that have small gaps are all proof that someone took their time to craft something useful.

We as a culture are obsessed with perfection, and being anything less than perfect is seen as a deficiency.   But I can’t be perfect, I never have been and I never want to be.  Perfection seems like a hell of a lot of effort to me, effort that could be better spent on other more productive endeavors.  I don’t expect anything I create to be perfect either.  My seam ripper sits right next to my scissors on my sewing table, and believe me, both are used often.  There is a limit to how much I am willing to take out, how much I want perfection over authenticity.  When I look at all of my work, I see those little gaps as proof that I made them and I’m more proud of what I’ve accomplished, than bothered by a slight imperfection.  The reality is that I’m probably the only person who notices the mistake anyhow.


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