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Welcome to my blog. It's kind of a novelty to be writing about myself, how I create things, how I visualize my creations will look when completed and how they differ from what I originally conceived them.

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If the walls of my studio could talk they would demand that they be moved to another building.

Colorful Metaphors 

Let’s face it.  We’ve all used them from time to time when things didn’t go quite the way we expected.

They come in handy in situations such as:

  • you get a stain on your tie or blouse while on your way to an important job interview or client presentation;
  • you accidentally hit “delete” and wiped out a vital spreadsheet for a client proposal.

Colorful metaphors usually involve sayings like, “Oh, s_ _t!” or, if the situation warrants, the granddaddy of all colorful metaphors, “Oh, f_ _k!”  Of course, there are numerous variants between the two examples whose use depends on the severity of the situation.

As an artisan I can state with full authority that I’m not exempt from employing the use of colorful metaphors on an as-needed basis. If the walls of my studio could talk they would demand that they be moved to another building.

For example, I have encountered a situation where I’m making a pen for a client with my very last piece of the wood the client specified and it shatters on the lathe.  This occured after normal business hours so I can’t get an immediate replacement.

Fortunately, most of the time we artisans can capitalize on our misfortunes in the creative process and actually promote them as a “design enhancement.”  Some of my peers have even admitted they were able to charge extra for these so-called “enhancements.”

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An Apology to Some of My Fellow Artisans

Sorry guys! I didn’t mean to let the cat out of the bag about the “design enhancements” and wipe out one of your major selling points. The words just slipped past my keyboard before I could stop them.

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How about you?  Care to share what kinds of situations you have encountered that required the use of colorful metaphors and rate how colorful they were?

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It’s so hard to accept a compliment…

…especially if you’re an artisan like myself who expects every piece to come out “perfect.” Alas, it never happens.

You see, I fret over every square inch of a piece as I’m crafting it.  Lengths and widths must conform; angles must measure exactly to specifications.  You can’t imagine how much material becomes relegated to the trash bin in my quest for perfection.

A very wise person (my wife, Kathy) once told me that I’m seeing things that the average person either never sees or, if they do, thinks its a characteristic of the material.  We’re not all artisans, she explained and we don’t have your eye for detail.

As an experiment I completed several pens without “compensating” for some imperfections and showed them to Kathy.

“Do they look OK?” I asked.

“They look beautiful!  When are you going to put them on your website?” she asked.

“Oh, as soon as I’m finished tweaking them,” I sheepishly replied and left to my studio where I thought a good deal about what she just said.

As I was sitting at my workbench a conversation I had with an artisan/sculptor I met over a year ago came to mind.  He told me that nothing I or any other artist/artisan creates will ever come out absolutely perfect and not to drive myself insane in a pursuit of an unattainable goal.

Even the Sistine Chapel, he noted, has tiny flaws that are not noticeable unless you see them up close and are trained to look for such things.

As he stated, “You have to strive not for pure perfection which is unattainable.  Instead, just strive for when it’s ‘perfect enough.’”

Seeing the look of confusion on my face he went on to explain that when we work on a piece, our minds focus so sharply that they become almost hyper-sensitive.  An almost imperceptible item appears as a glaring mishap instead of being what it just is: imperceptible.

He suggested that when I finish a piece I walk away from it and do something entirely different to take my mind off of it.

“Return to it an hour later and you will be looking at your work from the perspective of the client and not the artisan.  Then try and find those ‘glaring’ imperfections and I can almost guarantee you that you will struggle to look for them–assuming you can even find them at all.”

He was right.  When I tried his suggestion I couldn’t find these heart-stopping imperfections.

I remember him joking that as artisans we tend to view our work at the sub-atomic level and not under normal lighting conditions like our clients/patrons.

Still, I find it difficult sometimes to take that hiatus from a just-finished piece out of fear I’m going to “miss something.”  It’s almost physically painful to let go.

Some artisans, I’m told, consider these imperfections as “design enhancements.”  Don’t quote me on this but some actually charge extra for these “enhancements.”

I suppose that’s the bane of all artists and artisans.  We constantly strive for unattainable perfection.  That’s why we became artisans.

How about you?  Whether you’re an artisan or not, do you face similar situations in the things you do?  I’d love to find out I’m not alone in this. 

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