I admit this concept seemed to have little relevance in my culture–although the rugs continued to be valued.
Fifteen years ago as staff in an art gallery, I worked with a painter whose focus was Navajo art and philosophy. One day I thought to ask her if my mother was right about the “flaw.” This woman’s understanding was that Navajos long ago observed human nature to include excessive focus on works of the hands. The remedy: an artisan nearing completion of a rug or basket weaves the extra line deliberately for the benefit of his or her own spirit. It is a physical symbol and conscious act of freeing the spirit of the maker.
Now THIS has relevance. I have melded the concepts–what I grew up with and what my new friend explained–and am evolving my own way to view my flaws. A bonus came by observing a difference between my son and me: “How is it you don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake?” I asked one night as he sat on my couch. He told me what he had learned from studying art all through junior high and high school: “The first two years I was always erasing. Then I realized what I thought were my mistakes sometimes turned out to be some of my best ideas.”
Obsessiveness about being perfect–or not having any flaws–is its own evil. It keeps me from moving. I paralyze myself, prevent the next mistake which just might be the best act or move or stroke or choice ever! If I make a “mistake,” I have decided to say to myself, “My intention is to use that flaw as a line for moving beyond the boundaries of this project, for freeing my spirit.”
Take my advice. Commit to a color, put something in place, draw a bold stroke, cut to length. Then move on. Avoid premature assumptions about spoiling the project. If it isn’t working out the way you thought it would, it just means you aren’t done yet. It might just turn out better than you could have imagined!
Find what’s yours . . . truly! danscir52
copyright 2013 Dan Christensen all rights reserved