Monday, July 30, 2012

Deliberate Mistakes, imperfections and artistry

Today I've been out searching for some hard, fast information about mistakes made purposely. I have heard, for many years, and from many sources (who shall remain nameless as I can't remember who they are!) about the tradition of making a deliberate mistake, especially in the weaving of Kilim rugs. When I went on my search, I found that the tradition carries over into other cultures and is used by folks in other mediums as well. Quiltmakers, Navajo Indians, even carpenters are aware of and use this idea. It's pretty hard to pin down how this all works, but here's some interesting info.

My search began with this blog. I love the Navajo idea that evil spirits can only escape through an error in art. Not to mention the Amish belief that adding an error is the ultimate in arrogance as it implies that you could make something that was perfect to begin with!

According to this website it's all about humility. Lots of interesting stuff here about deliberate mistakes, devotion, 'atomism' and symbolism in Kilim rugs.In a Kilim rug, the errors can range from nearly invisible to easily spotted. One source even says that the errors included are the same for a particular weaver- sort of like a maker's mark.

If you want to read about 'hoo doo blocks' or 'humility blocks' in American quilts check out this blog. The purposeful errors that are included in these wonderful works are pretty hard to spot unless you are really looking for them.

Much of this seems to be traced back to the character of Arachne in Greek mythology, who made a perfect weaving on a topic which didn't please Athena, eventually leading to her being turned into a spider (and who really wants to be turned into a spider?)

So that is your lesson on imperfection from me. I suppose I'd have to say I am most like the Amish, believing that it would be an arrogance to think I could ever make anything that is perfect. So here's my guarantee- no bead that I make will ever be perfect. I couldn't make it perfect if I had to. It might contain a little bubble, a color that didn't really work out right, or some other bit of oddness that I couldn't fix. And that is the real beauty of handmade....


Bob Hoffmeyer said...

I love this blog post. So informative and so true. I'm going to adopt your guarantee.

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