Imperfection as Creative Freedom.

Posted on Jun 2, 2015 in inspiration, lessons
Experimenting with Imperfection

Some wonky patterned bookmarks I screen printed the other day.

Calling all perfectionists! It’s time we stop letting our perfectionism hold us back from self-expression and honest enjoyment. Let’s continue to put our best foot forward, but know it’s okay to give up that lingering feeling of self-doubt. Why? Because perfect is impossible.

The Navajo get this. They include a flawed stitch in each handmade rug and blanket—it is a purposeful mistake. The Japanese get this, too. They practice Kintsugi, or the art of fixing broken pottery by repairing it with gold or another precious metal. Rather than being disguised and forgotten, the cracks in the pottery become the permanent highlight of the piece. (Also check out Japanese Wabi-Sabi art.)

Inspired by these cultural traditions, I have been exploring personal projects and new hobbies through which I can welcome the idea of blemishes and imperfections. I am trying to embrace the beauty of creative experiments, shrug at artistic flaws, build up confidence and enjoy myself. Here are three ways in which I have been doing so:

I took my first screen printing class in July 2014, and I was hooked. (Full disclosure: this was probably because my first few projects went smoothly and without a hitch.) Soon after, I joined ASPCO, Artist’s Screen Printing Co-Op, so I could continue to explore this analog art as an outlet for pent up creativity. I find myself wanting each and every print to be without a flaw, but the handmade nature of screen printing triggers imperfections and so must I. A little flaw only enhances the fact that the piece was made by a human—a person—rather than a machine.

I will be the first to admit I am not a great painter. However, I have been really enjoying the experiments that are natural to water colors. You can brush, drip, spray or even flick the paint and water onto your canvas, and something beautifully interesting will result. It’s therapeutic.

From creating funky patterns to designing a custom card deck, it is truly fun to explore your own side projects. The pressure is off—you are the client. Go crazy. And use your creative energy from each project as fuel for another.

So how do you keep up your confidence when something is not perfect? Do you, too, explore and experiment with non work-related outlets? Let yourself feel free?

- Jess


1 Comment

  1. 27 Goals for My 27th Year. | Hey Jess
    July 7, 2015

    […] hands-on creativity As I mentioned in my blog post about perfectionism, I’ve been exploring relaxing hands-on non-perfectionist creative outlets, such as watercoloring. […]

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