Is it only cheating when you get caught - or is it okay to fudge, embellish, stretch, darn, or paint over mistakes? I used to think that everyone except me was able to churn out perfect, flawless art, but now I know the truth – some of them cheat! It makes me so happy to know this!
Because I make mistakes, no matter how careful I am. Most of the time they are smallish and very few but the most discerning (or critical...to-may-to, to -mah-to) would notice them, but they eat away at me and I often feel compelled to point them out to admirers. My husband always says “Just pretend they are part of the design, and if no one mentions them, you shouldn’t either!” He’s right of course, but that is difficult for me to do – I have honesty diarrhea – it runs out of me before I can stop it a lot of time. I think the problem is that when I know it is there, it’s all I can see, and I always suppose other people are noticing it, too.
Of course, in my quest to be more “zen” I have also tried acceptance, and I can certainly accept that I am going to make mistakes, even be (somewhat) calmish in the face of them, but let’s be real here –one cannot tell a potential buyer to just accept that the piece was made by a human and therefore has flaws and then expect them to pay for it. It has to at least have the attitude of perfection in order to be sellable.
Plus, it’s heartbreaking (or depending on one’s personality, crazy-making) when you have spent countless hours designing and creating something only to make or discover a glaring flaw at the very end! In the past, when I have made mistakes, I thought “That’s it – this piece is ruined!” Now I know better. For example, I’ve made the recent discovery of the many delightful uses of clear thread (Where have I been? Under a rock, I guess – I know it’s not new). I wish I had known about it a long, long time ago, because this thread is magic – it can be used to fix almost any mistake and it is basically invisible (especially with 40+ eyes! ) – LOVE IT!
For example, one time I was trying to trim threads when I finished a piece and I cut the fabric instead (Surely it’s happened to many people, not just me…right?) I About a quarter inch gap appeared right in the front, very conspicuous, and I actually cried! But after I mopped up, I was able to repair it with the magic invisibility thread and it was virtually unnoticeable – thank God! The mistake was still there, so I had to clamp my jaws together whenever anyone complimented the piece so I didn’t point it out, but the truth is, no one has ever noticed it but me. So the stuff really works and it is now my best friend. (Of course, like all relationships with best friends we have our problems. It may be able to make mistakes disappear, but being invisible it is really difficult to work with, sort of like sewing with a long blond hair – hard to see and thread through a needle - especially with 40+eyes - and even more difficult to use in a machine, so sometimes I curse at it, but deep down I truly love it.)
I have fretted and worried about this cheating until I talked to someone who said she took an entire class once from a well-known and respected artist that was entirely about fudging – she even said one idea was to use a sharpie marker to “fix” little mistakes. After I got over my shock, I was elated! Well heck, if the leaders in the industry are doing it, then why can’t I?
So naturally, now I cheat with abandon (I mean, only if I have to)! No need to cry over mistakes, there’s probably a way to fix it, hooray! Only I don’t consider it cheating anymore – I’m just making it perfect (or at least look perfect!) And if I can only keep my mouth shut about it – hopefully I can do it so well that no one will ever notice.
I’m going to the Houston Quilt Festival at the end of this month, and along with admiring the amazing works of art I will see and getting endlessly inspired, I have to admit I’m going to, just for fun, see if I can catch any flaws or mistakes and see how these incredible artists cleverly disguised, fixed or covered them up. Hey, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas, if you know what I mean!