Saturday, June 6, 2009

Imperfections? No, its art!

A few years ago I sat in a waiting room judging the group of cardiologist by their choice of decor. Usually waiting rooms I frequent on the high end of taste and deliberation offer some generic form of decor that I could find in JoAnn Fabric's home bric-a-brac center. But more often the ones I step into are austere with items retrieved from some institutional warehouse peppered with announcements and signs and 'thou shalt not' warnings. I suppose that says more about the quality of healthcare providers I frequent or perhaps their devotion to my insides rather than my esoteric needs.

Realizing that people with really good insurance or upper income levels of lifestyle pass through these halls, the doctors chose a series of art pieces to decorate one wall of the long, narrow room. I couldn't take my eyes off of them and still recall them long after that visit. It wasn't the skill or the imaginative or the unusual aspects of them-- but rather the highlighting of the mundane. Calling attention to the very things I tend to hide or scrub to remove or remonstrate over.

They were a series of prints featuring coffee and tea and drink spills and stains and marks left on wooden tables and furniture. The shading, the color choices, the simplicity of presentation all of course elevated these drips and drops and imprints to an artist's level, but still-- they featured splotches. And I rather liked the look. The tables became more than backdrop and spoke of daily life and living. In fact the tables reflected a life of their own in those mars and marks.

Seems as I age, I think more and more on the opportunities missed or the mistakes made. Things I don't do for fear of making a mess. Yet, the mistakes and messes make for the best stories -- at least those I can now face and embrace. The blotches on my life are afterall what gives me character and texture and makes me an individual not just one of the masses of people striving to appear perfect.

The relationship between my husband and I has grown strong on shared misfortunes, difficult times, lapses in common sense, our imperfections seem to endear us to one another. We laugh about our blemishes -- maybe we've reached a state of love that overlooks everything and is simply about two people loving without reservation.

Many of my friends are fabric artists and they talk of wax resists and sharpie alcohol techniques and all kinds of fabric painting, stamping, embellishing techniques. Most of these projects can get a bit messy, so they cover their work spaces with cloth or wear an old shirt to catch the drips and dabs. Recently several have realized that their cover clothes and old shirts have themselves become things of beauty and art. Maybe they reflect the life that happens when we're doing something else.

These friends are doing exciting things in their workrooms and don't seem to mind the drips and drops that accompany their efforts. Maybe I should worry less about getting my hands dirty, less about not doing something perfectly, worry less about making a mess and embrace the results, the surprise that comes with trying rather than just holding out for perfection or success. It takes me a long time to realize that often the most beautiful pieces of art came about by accident. Here's to a beautiful accident -- today.

1 comment:

Bob Sanchez said...

A beautiful post, Dawn, and it's no accident. Wouldn't life be dull if it didn't have any splotches?

Bob Sanchez