Make It a Feature

Ink on Mixed Media Paper

For week five of our year long calligraphy challenge we were asked to share a lesson learned from a calligraphy class or teacher. Once I read the prompt I knew exactly what tip I was going to share. I learned long ago to let go of the idea in my head and get comfortable with the piece that actually ends up on the paper. After spending hours developing a work of art, one little foible can make you cry, so in a workshop I heard the instructor tell us this. I have heard it in almost every other class I have ever taken. Ironically the piece I presented was my third version, I had a hard time making the ‘right’ mistake to turn into a feature.

We all know intellectually that perfection is unattainable, yet we still drive ourselves towards that goal. I am working on a new project – to be written about in a future post – and am very uncomfortable with some of the parameters, intentionally uncomfortable, yet uncomfortable none the less. I have made a few mistakes and this quote rang in my ear…make it a feature. It’s funny how we get stuck in our own successful processes and neglect to handle change well. When we are pushed, even of our own choosing, outside our knowledge and experienced areas we foible and get flustered. I had to spend a lot of time thinking about how to make a mistake a feature, it worked and looks great.

When I finish work I may like it yet am not always comfortable with it. I know here all the mistakes are, the things I had to fudge or force, and that is what I see first. Everyone else sees a beautiful piece and I see what it was meant to be, bummer. Being creative means giving up the goal of perfection, it makes embracing mistakes. My best work has come from horrible mistakes. I grew, I learned, I gained wisdom on how not to have those things happen again.

In whatever you’re doing today, give yourself and everyone else a break. Let go of perfection and embrace the mistakes, make it a feature. No one will ever know but you.

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