Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Creativity Roadblocks #5 Perfectly Imperfect

uh oh          (c) lapaylor 2013
Do you strive for perfection??
There is a difference between perfection and excellence. I value a person putting themselves into a project and doing their very best.
I think chasing perfection is unnecessary and counter productive.
Perfect for who anyway?
 I either work intuitively letting the art grow as I sew, or there is a vision maybe a sketch and I see the finished quilt in my mind. Even then I am willing to let the piece change as I go, but am often really happy if it comes out looking like it did in my mind.
Mainly it's perfect if it makes me happy.
"Perfection" goes hand in hand with judgement, so if you are entering your quilts to be judged for ribbons/money they will be judged against technical perfection. Even entering your work in a local show opens it to this kind of judgement by your peers, and you might think it needs to be perfect or it will be  found lacking.
Do not confuse this game with beauty or worth.
I have seen many a beautiful antique quilt that would receive negative judges comments in today's world.
Some judging comments actually tell you how a quilt might be improved in a judged situation, but some comments seem  more about justification for prizes, not always, just sayin'. (If you're a judge, don't hold that against me, I am absolutely sure I'm not referring to any of your comments)

In striving for excellence, you do your best at a moment. You bravely make choices, learn what you need to do to make that quilt, make the effort to match and press well, and fill the quilting evenly, etc.
A person can improve their skills to the point where they automatically do technical work "perfectly" and they no longer fret over them. If you are ripping out repeatedly to make points match -that are supposed to match, then there is a class out there somewhere with your name on it. Learning is good.

Trying to be perfect might be interrupting your creativity if.....
--if you are constantly unwilling to share your quilts because you don't feel they are good enough, then perfectionism is interrupting your creativity.
---if you can't enjoy the process of experimentation in making art, perfectionism is interrupting your creativity.
--- if you never finish anything because you can't choose the perfect fabric, the perfect quilting pattern, the perfect binding corners, then perfectionism is interrupting your creativity.
---if you don't even try to make the quilt because other people are so much better at it than you are, then perfection is interrupting your creativity and your fun.

Creativity is coming up with something original, something that hasn't been done, or done that way before. It's making a new path instead of staying on the one with roadsigns. It can be exciting or scary.
How can you do that perfectly and who's to judge?

Changing perfectionistic tendencies is a process, and will take awareness and practice, but we are a patient group, we art-makers. We know how to take apart a problem, and put it back together into a solution. 

 Self judgement wastes time you could be having fun. Go have fun. (go on)
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  1. Awesome post! I couldn't agree more!!!

  2. "Mainly it's perfect if it makes me happy." That's my philosophy in a nutshell! Good article!

  3. I agree. Striving for excellence is a good thing, trying to be perfect is impossible. If you are happy with the result, then life is good.

  4. Excellent Post..... and your drawing is so fun, hope she becomes a quilt in the future!

  5. great post on nurturing creative process and growth.
    t does take practice just like anything else worth doing !
    draw on!

  6. Well said. I'm a recovering and often relapsing perfectionist of the stall-out variety.

  7. I am never sure if anyone comes back to read a response but I thank you all for your comments on my post. I write because I must, and the fact that smart talented people are reading it, makes my heart sing. My appreciation to all of you!

  8. This is so true for me... loved reading my thoughts in written words! Self judgement really is the worst enemy of creative enjoyment.

  9. I spent my early years making things I didn't like that much, because I was aiming for perfection, of the straight lines, matching points kind. It wasn't until I realised that there was another way of doing things that I really began on my current path. It's really liberating to accept that I am just one of those people whose points will never match, but that I can do other sorts of work and be happy with them.