PROCESS OVER PERFECTION
Our world has been profoundly impacted by the events that have unfolded over the last two years. So much has changed and many of us have shifted and transformed alongside our changing world. These kinds of deep and profound changes are almost always tumultuous and destabilising. But the process of transformation from old ways of being into something new can lead to an unprecedented level of creative energy being released. This transformative creative rush is created through boldly and bravely leaving behind what is outdated and no longer serves us so that something new and vibrant and full of life can begin to emerge.
As so much of what held our cultural narratives together fell apart and so many elements of the way we lived our daily lives fell apart, it was as if through the chaos and shifting tides we were granted permission to appear slightly less put-together and to try less hard to present some polished version that did not show the flaws that are a necessary part of the creation process.
As our world entered its forced slowing, it felt as if we too slowly started to grant ourselves permission not to rush through to some imaginary end-state or state of completion but instead to linger in the process and take a little more time than we used to. In many ways the question of what we were all rushing toward became more pressing and the answer more elusive than before. What in fact was that desired end-state we needed to get to and what was the need to get there so quickly?
Loosening the grip of the need to present as complete as well as allowing ourselves more time has begun to foster a different way of relating to most of what matters in our lives – our work, our free time, our homes, our relationships to others and to ourselves.
Rather than attempting to present a perfect, complete end-state, we seem to have become more accepting of, and interested in, the slow evolving process of unfolding with all of its messy transformations. Rather than only admiring what was 'complete', both in ourselves and in others, many of us have become curious about the process. And with this gentler curiosity in ourselves, we also became curious about the imperfect process of everyone else around us. It’s as if showing our working process with all of the mistakes, errors and wrong turns inherent in getting something right became not only acceptable but desirable.
When it comes to the creation of home, this slow, imperfect, evolving process has been something I have admired as an approach for some time (you can read more here and here). Swapping the rush to the big reveal, with every last detail perfectly in place, for a slower approach allows for a more thoughtful unfolding of the spaces in our homes to occur. This unfolding can occur alongside and in support of our lives rather than attempting to have everything in place before life in our home has even begun.
In his book ‘The process of creating life’ , architect and theorist Christopher Alexander discusses a way of creating, full of freedom and a joy of spirit, which takes place through the simple, stepwise process of adaptation that unfolds one step at a time. Each element is introduced or transformed bit by bit and always in accordance with everything that is already there. Alexander emphasises that the “rough, rambling quality of so much that is good in the environment, comes from the light-hearted, yet profound adaptation which such a simple stepwise process encourages, and which a more formal or controlled design process cannot achieve.”
I take these ideas to heart when considering the process of creation and design. One thoughtful step at a time, always assessing how each new step can enhance all that came before it and the life that will be lived within this space. There is no fixed vision of an end result, no big reveal, just one addition or change at a time. And with time, something begins to unfold that is fitting for its place and purpose.
I feel very grateful to be working in a time where the unfinished and incomplete is welcomed. Where the slow thoughtful evolution is starting to gain as much recognition and value as the rush to the big reveal.
I believe this is how homes (or work spaces or studio space for that matter) become infused with life – we spend our time in them, becoming familiar with both their structure and our own needs within them, and we add to them little by little. As our needs change so too can our spaces, flexing and shifting to accommodate the changing nature of the way we live and evolve. This process is never quite complete. If we allow ourselves to engage with our spaces slowly, thoughtfully and on an ongoing basis, they will reward us continuously by always presenting an opportunity to add or adjust something that can better meet our evolving needs.
The time of presenting perfection seems to be behind us and it is beautiful to increasingly see a new cultural space emerging where we are free to engage with and share the realities of an unfolding process rather than just the polished end result.
Images above show our Heavy Washed Belgian Linen Blanket Throw in Ecru, Belgian Linen Bedding in Natural White, Belgian Linen Fitted Sheets in Natural White, Handspun Eri Silk Throw and Hand Dyed Velvet Cushion Covers in Alleen, Easel and Bondegard.