The day before I received a request for altered book covers for MCBA's recent fundraiser I was making a batch of books. I was making the case for what was to be my 2012 Minnesota State Fair journal. I cut a label depression before gluing the fabric. (After the Fair a laminated portion of my spin art goes in these depressions.)
Well that part all went well until this fabric decided to crease down the front as I smoothed it out. (While I work quickly this type of thing rarely happens to me, because I'm, well, let's just say it, fussy.) There was a bit of a crease in the fabric before I started and I thought I could work it out during the gluing phase. I took a risk. You have to do this, but you have to be prepared that things might not work out.
I set the cover aside and created a new case (sadly with a different fabric, since this was the end of the gold/red nubby stuff).
Then I actually thought I would case the book in anyway, and that the crease, running with the nubbiness of the fabric wasn't that noticeable. But of course it was all I could see when I looked at the cover so I set it aside again.
When the donation call came from MCBA I started making little painted medalions like the one seen on this "cover." I started thinking about what I could do with this not perfect case and I picked it up again. I cut off the spine and back board (there was just enough material at the hinge to wrap around the edge and make it clean so I didn't have to add anything on the left. (Remember I'm fussy.)
I decided to turn this botched case into a reminder of something one of my mentors said to me 20 years ago (and which I've written about many times).
I set her comment with a rubberstamping kit and stamped it on the cover. I made the crease a feature by sewing waxed Irish linen thread down the length of it. I added some beads. (The piece is meant to hang on the wall, but it was easier to photograph propped up.)
Now instead of the my scrawled note of her advice on a crinkled and soiled post-it note taped to the post of my drawing board lamp I have this reminder of my mentor's words hanging on my wall. It doesn't seem at all obsessive or fussy to me. It reminds me that in the intervening years I have taken her advice to heart time and time again. I've risked things, and when they haven't worked out quite as planned I've repurposed them. I've learned also that pretty much everything looks better with waxed Irish linen thread and beads!
Creativity requires that we just follow our noses and play with whatever we have at hand. Letting go of perfect isn't about being sloppy or haphazard, it's about acknowledging where you are now, at this moment, and bringing something into the world. It's the only way we can improve. It's the only way we can see where to go next.