Tuesday, 6 April 2021

The Value of Imperfection

 Perhaps it's been being married to an abstract artist but as I "create" more, I've come to see the value of imperfection. We live in a society where perfection is in high demand- a perfect diamond, perfect smile, perfect teeth, perfect skin- the list is endless. And while perfection may be beautiful (and expensive) imperfection intrigues me more because it's ...interesting. The stone I am currently working on is a "perfect" example.


I love working with agate but agate is never symmetrical and it's the impurities that create the amazing patterns and colour shifts. Without them it would be a bland piece of quartz. This stone is a highly imperfect local agate. If you look closely, you can see a fissure in the center where the crystals have grown together and there are areas of inclusions and impurities. But these all contribute to the structure and banding and make the stone interesting. I'd look at it a lot longer than I would a flawless gem. 
I set the stone in upcycled copper that starts off looking like this.

I'd love to leave it looking like this but people don't like copper oxide rubbing off on their clothes! So I do the next best thing- I leave imperfections. Look closely at the copper setting above and you can see some scratches and areas where I haven't removed all the patina and the forms are not identical. I have the equipment and materials to make it flawless but I choose to leave it slightly imperfect because it makes it more interesting.
My shop is called The Artist's Mark NOT because my name is Mark (a question I get regularly from visitors) but because I want people to see the mark of the artist in the finished product.
Don't get me wrong, I am not denigrating those who set perfect gems in perfect settings. They have their place and require patience and expertise I admire but don't possess. But think of it- we remember imperfection- the crooked smile, freckled skin, unruly hair. So I'll stick with my style and, hopefully you will find the pieces...interesting!

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