Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I am fascinated by the concept of making mistakes. And to me, it really is just that- a concept. If we look at our creative process as a series of experiments, than each stage is necessary to reach the outcome that we're most satisfied with. What might be considered a mistake is actually a necessary step towards discovering something more effective or to learn a new skill.

Nothing can teach you this more clearly than writing a craft book. In writing 28 patterns, I learned a great deal about the necessity of prototypes. Whatever I envisioned in my mind usually took several attempts before it reached its final version... often different, but always better than what had been planned.

I've kept many of those mistakes  attempts that didn't quite work in a huge basket. Over this last year, I've reworked some simply to salvage the fabric... or as practice for something new. So it was with this linen portfolio. The linen is gorgeous, but I had lined it with a much too heavy winter blanket, and it's a bit lumpy. Yesterday, I decided to complete it anyway and added my first leather handle. Guess what? It's still not what I want it to be, but I learned how to work with leather in a new way- and I'm really excited about its potential. I've since taken my seam ripper to that handle and it's ready to be attached to something else. Ever evolving.

Here's what I learned about working with my leather from SCRAP:
-A universal needle works beautifully with thin supple leather
-Folding that same weight leather in half transforms it into something exceptionally strong and sturdy (great for a handles)
-Using contrasting thread is asking for trouble, but has potential to be striking.

Have you learned anything recently from something you considered a mistake? Perhaps it was just a step in the right direction. And hey, seam rippers are very effective! Wish I could use them in all areas of life!
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  1. Yes, that fabric is gorgeous. I'm with you about "mistakes". I once heard that an college art teacher told his students that they weren't allowed to abandon anything; that they had to make it work SOMEHOW. I try and keep that in mind with my own work...sometimes you just can't (then, as you say a seam ripper is great...or some gesso), but sometimes what you are left with is something better than what you'd even imagined.

  2. I like to invoke Bob Ross & call them "happy little mistakes" and they are all part of my process!

  3. my mistake sat in a plastic bag under the end table for months.. I was making a bear and changed the direction of the grain lines on the face. I had turned it 90 degrees and the "stretch" was all off. I hated the face ! Absolutely hated it. So there it sat under the table! Finally I unstuffed it and started over... much better . Then I decided to needle felt over the muzzle... and I love it!! He's all finished with a polymer resin nose, vintage sailor hat and a pair of coveralls just waiting for the online bear show next month!!