How to Embrace Imperfection

A recent studio project involved a resin bezel. The bezel, selected specifically by my friend included a custom crafted chain. All I had to do was make both.

Because the bezel had an open back I used packing tape to seal my edges and pour a base coat of pure, clear resin. Then, a few days later I mixed and poured a second portion of resin to finish the project, filling the bezel to capacity. Unfortunately, the second pouring of resin did not cure. It stayed sticky to the touch. That was the beginning of my embrace of imperfection.

Lesson One: Accept what is

After a week of hoping the resin stickiness would go away, of consulting with an expert teacher and researching on the internet, I knew I had to dig out the mess and start over.

Using gloves to protect my hands from the clinging substance, I picked up a lollipop stick and began to carve out the gooey material. The stick broke. Suddenly there were wooden shards in the previously clear goo. I changed gloves then found a more substantial palette knife and began scraping again. 

Finally, carefully, so as not to pierce the base, I cleaned away the last of the residue and set my project on the workbench.

Lesson Two: Slow down and review

It was time to think about my effort from a new vantage point. I’d briefly consulted with an instructor who confirmed that resin “could be temperamental.” She advised me to relax and take extra care with the sequence and the timing of the mix as I re-did the project. 

While my second effort cured, I laid out handmade links and considered the chain that would complement the piece.

Lesson Three: Notice what shows up

Each of the 50+ chain links offered proof of handmade. Hammered silver edges gleamed in texture and some solder joints carried more heaviness than others. As I considered the presentation, I added in some red brass elements, and then fashioned a hanger that would further tie into the mixed metal theme. I re-ordered the series to appeal to my sense of movement.

To further the cohesiveness of my presentation, I decided to patina the chain as well as the bezel. As an added detail, I placed a tiny amethyst charm at the edge of the last connection.

Lesson Four: Celebrate the result

For once, my quest for perfection merged into a pursuit of excellence. I congratulated myself on experimenting with the resin bezel, rather than giving up when my first attempt didn’t meet expectations. I thought about the countless hours involved in making each of the handmade chain links and felt a sense of pride for time well spent. As I fingered the links, I appreciated the substance, the sense of beauty that was conveyed by the necklace itself and the general lightness of being that I felt by overcoming the obstacle and completing the project. I found myself reveling in the overall experience and challenging myself to embrace imperfection more often.

The rite of celebration cemented my appreciation of the effort. I realized I easily overlooked this aspect of a project. In the review, my recognition of imperfection was suddenly elevated in a more positive light. Instead of beating myself up I celebrated the positives and enjoyed a sense of pride in accomplishment.

How will you embrace imperfection this week?

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