I have finished another landscape quilt, and I’m bursting with pride. Please, look at my pictures! But don’t look too close.
“The Enchantments”–based on my Happy Place in the central Cascades.
Detail of the bottom. I like to have the picture overflow out of the border.
A look at the variety of stitching on the back. I try to match the quilting with the picture.
About a year and a half ago, I blogged about my imperfectionism as it relates to quilts. Here’s what I said:
I’m a lousy carpenter. So I never thought I’d make it as a quilter either, and I never tried. Till I discovered landscape quilts.
Landscape quilting is just what it sounds like: you create a landscape, like a painter, substituting appliqued cloth for paint. The effect can be as realistic or impressionistic as you choose. Me, I’m all about the impressionism. Who cares if that flower has eight petals in real life? On my quilt, it gets five, and it’s still pretty.
Nice and sloppy, just like nature.Another way landscape quilting is like impressionist painting is in its wonderful, inherent sloppiness. Who cares if my stitches are uneven, or if I miss an edge here or there which might fray? Nature’s full of ragged edges, weird curves, asymmetry. It’s a gorgeous slop-fest out there! Too much precision = unnatural-looking landscape…or so says I.
Am I making a virtue of necessity? Cheering myself up for being lazy, not to mention bad at arithmetic?
You betcha. But hey: I’m quilting, aren’t I?
Now, a year and a half later, my quilts are no less imperfect. Or no more perfect. And I’m still okay with that…in quilts. But in writing? Good enough has never been good enough. That’s why I write draft after draft, that’s why I’m still re-re-re-re-re-revising Headwinds even when it’s in its final proofs.
And lo and behold, with my next community concert looming in a week and a half, I’m starting to apply that perfectionism to musical performance.
You: “What do you mean, starting to? You mean you’ve been performing up till now without caring how good you are?”
Me: “Nnnnyeah….well…not exactly. See, when I first got onstage, it was really kind of a lark. I didn’t think of myself as a “real” performer. So what if I couldn’t nail the hard chords? Isn’t that what the other musicians were there for–to cover for me while I distracted the audience with my singing?”
You: “You’re really buying this?”
Me: “Well…the alternative was to practice a WHOLE LOT more than I wanted to. So…yeah.”
Me: “I know, right? I sat on a stool for my performances because I’d never used a strap with my guitar and I didn’t want to learn. I used a music stand in case I forgot the words or chords. I glanced at my fingers all the time, even when that meant singing away from the mike.”
You: “So is there something you’d like to say to your audiences now?”
Me: “I’m SORRY! I’ve upped my standards. Come to my concert on October 26th and you’ll see.”
You: “Yeah. But you still could have brushed your hair for the promo poster.”
OK, all you fellow imperfectionists: where do you draw YOUR line? Where do you let yourself slide, and where do you NEVER let yourself slide? Are you trying to work on sliding less, or sliding more? I am very interested to hear.