I have been inspired to write this post by two things. I am doing an eCourse with Brene Brown at the moment. It’s a 6 weeks course based on her book – The Gifts of Imperfection. I found a video of her on Youtube a few weeks ago and I was hooked immediately. I love the way she talks, how she is so open and honest and authentic, and how she put things in such a simple yet profound way. The course is in its second week now, and I am enjoying the art journaling, it’s been a while since I let myself mess around with paints and not worry about the outcome.
Something that I’ve begun to admit openly recently, is my inability to be imperfect. Sounds crazy, I know, but when it comes to trying something new, if I can’t do it right straight away – I’m usually not interested. Unless of course, I can practice in secret where no one can see/hear me, and then when I’ve perfected it, reveal it, looking all shiny and amazing. Yet, I’ve always encouraged people to try things, to experiment. When I worked in Buck’s Rock Summer Camp, my motto was ‘the wonkier the better’. I would encourage the campers to just create, and enjoy the process, and not worry about whether it was perfect. After all, the more imperfect it was, the more handmade it looked, and therefore people knew how much love and effort had gone into the making of it. When I worked in Derby College in the art department, it was a similar story. I would encourage the students to be creative, to experiment, and to not be afraid to do it wrong or to fail, because they could just keep trying. I would then tell them the story of Doddle.
Sometimes, there have been times that my first attempt at something was truly terrible, but for some reason, I was inspired to keep trying. One day, my mum had a craft magazine, that featured a mini fabric teddy bear. In the article, it said – ‘This little bear is a doddle to make in an evening.’ Well, mine took me a week, and was a painfully slow and frustrating process. My mum’s attempt went in the bin after a few hours. But I finished mine, and here was the end result:
Though I find him to be quite endearing now, he is still so incredibly imperfect. The stitching is terrible, the shape is awful, I didn’t figure out how to attach his ears, so they have ragged edges, the list of his imperfections is huge. But do you know what? Every person who has met Doddle has fallen in love with him. I went on to make many more bears, getting a little better each time. I started making them from bear felt, which was easier to use than fabric. My friend worked in a Traditional Toy Shop, and she sold many of my bears in there for me. Then, after a year of two, I started using mohair. It was a big step for me, because mohair is over £100 a metre. My first few mohair bears weren’t perfect, but I still found families to adopt them. After a while, I was creating bears like Robert:
He still may not be perfect, but he is a million times better than my first attempt. (sorry, Doddle!) And all it took to get from one to the other, was time, practice, patience and perseverance.
I plan to keep Doddle on my computer as a reminder that as Brene would say, Imperfection and vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity. And that I am imperfect, and I am enough. (As is Doddle 🙂 )