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Folklore: Deliberate imperfections

Jim Dixon 11 Jan 07 - 06:47 PM
Leadfingers 11 Jan 07 - 07:06 PM
gnomad 11 Jan 07 - 07:26 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 11 Jan 07 - 07:34 PM
JennieG 11 Jan 07 - 07:43 PM
catspaw49 11 Jan 07 - 07:43 PM
jeffp 11 Jan 07 - 07:50 PM
catspaw49 11 Jan 07 - 07:53 PM
JennieG 11 Jan 07 - 07:57 PM
Jack Campin 11 Jan 07 - 08:03 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 11 Jan 07 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,DrWord 11 Jan 07 - 09:24 PM
CapriUni 11 Jan 07 - 11:04 PM
JennieG 11 Jan 07 - 11:29 PM
Bill D 11 Jan 07 - 11:34 PM
Joe_F 11 Jan 07 - 11:36 PM
JennieG 12 Jan 07 - 12:05 AM
Cluin 12 Jan 07 - 12:13 AM
Acme 12 Jan 07 - 12:19 AM
Gurney 12 Jan 07 - 12:27 AM
Johnhenry'shammer 12 Jan 07 - 12:33 AM
GUEST, Topsie 12 Jan 07 - 05:47 AM
Captain Ginger 12 Jan 07 - 06:03 AM
Scrump 12 Jan 07 - 06:13 AM
Jim Dixon 12 Jan 07 - 08:22 AM
Paul from Hull 12 Jan 07 - 08:37 AM
Mo the caller 12 Jan 07 - 09:05 AM
Scoville 12 Jan 07 - 09:32 AM
Celtaddict 12 Jan 07 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,quest 12 Jan 07 - 12:56 PM
MMario 12 Jan 07 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Jan 07 - 01:04 PM
Scrump 12 Jan 07 - 01:05 PM
Acme 12 Jan 07 - 01:13 PM
Celtaddict 12 Jan 07 - 01:16 PM
CapriUni 12 Jan 07 - 02:06 PM
Amos 12 Jan 07 - 02:50 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 07 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Val 12 Jan 07 - 03:52 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jan 07 - 04:17 PM
open mike 12 Jan 07 - 04:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jan 07 - 04:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jan 07 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Bubblyrat 12 Jan 07 - 05:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jan 07 - 05:45 PM
Bert 12 Jan 07 - 05:56 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Jan 07 - 07:17 PM
Cluin 12 Jan 07 - 07:26 PM
frogprince 12 Jan 07 - 11:38 PM
CapriUni 13 Jan 07 - 01:49 AM
Sandra in Sydney 13 Jan 07 - 03:17 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jan 07 - 01:31 PM
Amos 13 Jan 07 - 02:18 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Jan 07 - 02:36 PM
Amos 13 Jan 07 - 02:54 PM
JennieG 13 Jan 07 - 09:01 PM
Amos 13 Jan 07 - 09:06 PM
Bert 14 Jan 07 - 12:42 AM
CapriUni 14 Jan 07 - 02:08 AM
GUEST,Iola Govensky 26 Feb 07 - 01:38 PM
Alec 26 Feb 07 - 02:56 PM
frogprince 26 Feb 07 - 07:49 PM
Janie 26 Feb 07 - 09:44 PM
Rusty Dobro 27 Feb 07 - 07:23 AM
Scrump 27 Feb 07 - 07:42 AM
greg stephens 27 Feb 07 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Paganini 27 Feb 07 - 12:58 PM
CapriUni 27 Feb 07 - 01:50 PM
JohnB 27 Feb 07 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,Andreea 03 Aug 13 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Aug 13 - 09:08 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Aug 13 - 09:43 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Aug 13 - 10:49 AM
Airymouse 03 Aug 13 - 11:35 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 14 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,FABIO 06 Dec 14 - 11:19 AM
MartinRyan 06 Dec 14 - 12:15 PM
Rumncoke 06 Dec 14 - 01:17 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Dec 14 - 05:03 PM
JennieG 06 Dec 14 - 06:40 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 06:47 PM

I heard two radio announcers chatting the other day. One of them had just made some sort of mistake, and he excused himself by saying (I'm paraphrasing here): "When Quakers make a quilt, they always deliberately make some imperfection somewhere, out of respect for God, because it's supposed to remind them that only God is perfect."

This struck me as odd because (1) I have been associating with Quakers for many years, and I have never heard them mention such a rule; (2) Quakers aren't particularly known for quilt making (Maybe the announcer was thinking of the Amish.); (3) I have heard this story before, but when I heard it, it went: "When the Navajo weave a blanket.…"

I've been Googling phrases like "deliberate imperfection" and I have found this belief, or something like it, attributed to Persian rug makers, ancient Greek sculptors, Jewish house-builders (who will not build a perfect house until the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem), and Japanese Zen potters. Maybe there are more versions.

I suspect what we have here is an urban myth.

I would like to know:

1. Have you heard some version this story before? What ethnic group, and what art or craft were mentioned?

2. Do you know any artisan who actually follows this precept?

3. (This is a long shot, I know.) Can you cite any authoritative source, such as a reference book, ethnographic study, or other scholarly work, that attributes this belief/practice to a specific group?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:06 PM

One Day I will get a song right !!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: gnomad
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:26 PM

1: Yes re Turkish carpet-weavers
2: No
3: No


Version 2
1: Yes, again Turkey, but this time in relation to shipbuilding.
2: Artisan, no, but I have spoken first-hand with a man who took over a new-built ship from its Turkish builders. He noticed what I did not; that the port and starboard sides are not mirror images, though drawn that way on the plans. The ship is not compromised by the differences, but is imperfect, as I can witness. The explanation given was that perfection was the sole prerogative of Allah.
3: No

Thread-drift warning:

I like the slightly similar [in that it concerns perfection] story of the chieftain building one of the forts on China's great wall. It was suggested to him that he should order extra bricks "just in case" when he had already ordered what he had calculated as the required number. He duly ordered one more brick, which can still be seen lying loose on a ledge half way up the wall of the fort.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:34 PM

I think someone may have confused their religious sects. I'd always heard the deliberate imperfection principle mentioned in regard to Amish quiltmakers.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:43 PM

Apparently the deliberate imperfection myth is just that...a myth. I'm a quiltmaker and I read a lot about quiltmaking and quilt history, and it seems to be a story that has attached itself to Amish quitmaking. If someone making a quilt ran out of - say - dark blue fabric before finishing the quilt and substituted a lighter blue fabric for one or two blocks it was not a 'deliberate' mistake, just an attempt to finish something already started.
We need Rapaire in on this, his wife has a house full of quilt books!

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:43 PM

Yeah.......A pretty common story re: the Amish. I grew up in the Amish country of eastern Ohio and I remember that admonition from my youngest days. Thing is there were alot of German roots in that area and the respect for God was not the sole province of the Amish. For instance the Moravian religion had a large presence there as well and they were a pretty devout bunch too.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: jeffp
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:50 PM

I remember reading it in a book about the Japanese game of Go. It said that the horizontal lines on a Go board were spaced slightly differently than the vertical lines. Additionally, the pieces were slightly oversize so that in play, it will not be perfectly aligned. However, the explanation wasn't religious, it was that the Japanese believed perfection to be uninteresting.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:53 PM

Love your post Jennie!

"Myth" is completely believable but that it HAS attached itself to the Amish (or whomever) now makes it reality.

It is the beauty of folklore to make myths real. Tell a tale long enough and it is no longer a tale but a truth. I think how many myths surround some of the instruments..............Once believed and accepted, all the facts in the world will never convince some that their treasured belief is a myth. And sometimes the truth just plain gets in the road of a damn fine tale. Remember how depressed youwere when you found out that "Posh" did NOT come from "Port Out, Starboard Home?"***grin***

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:57 PM

Spaw, I know women who have justified a mistake in a quilt by saying "I did it deliberately!" *grin*

Me, I go for the 10 foot rule - if you can stand 10 feet away from something and it looks good, that's OK by me. Doesn't matter if it's a quilt or anything else.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 08:03 PM

I thought it was originally about Intel chip designers.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 08:25 PM

As a working potter, I'm very familiar with the idea of intentionally adding "imperfection" into one's work. Pots created on a potter's wheel are, by their very nature, round and symmetrical. For many potters, myself included, working within the framework of symmetry and striving toward an aesthetic of grace and elegance is what our work is all about.

But many other potters reach a point where they begin to feel that "round is boring" so they intentionally add asymmetry into their work. I have a friend who decided to take the entire year of 2006 "off from round". Every pot he made was struck with a wooden paddle, smacked with the heel of his hand, dropped onto a tabletop, or deformed in some other fashion.

Asymmetry is also part of the aesthetic of Japanese tea bowl making, a seemingly minor ceramic discipline, but one about which entire books have been written and to which acknowledged master ceramicists have devoted lifetimes. (Click here for a picture of a typical tea bowl.) The potter may intentionally work with a ball of clay that is slightly off-center on the wheel, "lopsided" rims aren't trimmed true, fingermarks aren't smoothed out, and random acts of deformation are common. Personally, when I see or handle a tea bowl like the one in the photo link, I feel more of a sense of the pot's earthly origins than I do with more refined pottery, my own included.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 09:24 PM

heard exactly the same tale re: Irish (or perhaps, specifically the Aran Islands) sweaters knitted with a "deliberate imperfection".
I hunch this is mythical ... it was elaborated with the notion that the sweater could be used to identify a drowned fisherman.
Interesting thread.

cheers
dennis


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 11:04 PM

I've heard this about Navajo rug weavers, but not for the "Only God is perfect," reason, but rather, that the slight imperfection allows the "spirit of creativity" an escape route, so that another rug can be woven in the future.

And, regarding the deliberate asymmetry of Japanese pottery: Can that really be counted toward "imperfection," if, in that asthetic, symmetrical is boring (and I think I agree, on that point)?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 11:29 PM

Dennis, I have heard this one about the Aran sweaters too. Apparently each family was supposed to have a particular pattern, or combination of patterns, that was their own, so if a fishing boat was involved in a mishap the men could be identified.

But I don't know if it's true.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 11:34 PM

I'd always heard that every Persian (Iranian) carpet had included "God's knot" in the early stages to state that the weaver was not even attempting to make anything perfect...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 11:36 PM

Here's another one, from R. P. Feynman, Lectures in Elementary Physics, 0th ed., 1962, Vol. II, Chap. 52:

"Why is nature so nearly symmetrical? Nobody has any idea why. The only thing we might suggest is something like this: There is a gate in Japan, a gate in Neiko, which is sometimes called by the Japanese the most beautiful gate in all Japan; it was built at a time when there was great influence from Chinese art. This gate is very elaborate with lots of gables and beautiful carving and lots of columns, and dragon heads, and princes carved into the pillars, and so on. But when one looks closely he sees that, in the elaborate and complex design along one of the pillars, one of the small design elements is carved upside down; otherwise the thing is completely symmetrical. If one asks why this is, the story is: it is carved upside down, so that the gods will not be jealous of the perfection of man. So they purposely put an error in there, so that the gods would not be jealous and get angry with human beings.

"We might like to turn the idea around and think that the true explanation of the near symmetry of nature is this: that God made the laws only nearly symmetrical, so that we should not be jealous of His perfection!"

Feynman does not say that he himself saw the gate, tho he had been in Japan. It is not clear where he got the story. A Google search merely brings up other quotations of the same passage in Feynman.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: JennieG
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 12:05 AM

People aren't symmetrical! How many of you have one foot a bit bigger than the other, or one leg a big longer? Many women have one breast slighter larger than the other too.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Cluin
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 12:13 AM

Take a picture of your face from directly in front. Divide it down the middle vertically and copy and flip each part so the mirror image fills the lost side. You'll have 2 exactly symmetrical faces that look like 2 different people that resemble one another.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Acme
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 12:19 AM

I'm skipping ahead to post this without reading all of the intervening answers. I watched a fascinating program perhaps as many as 8 or 10 years ago (on PBS, probably) with information about Islamic art, and one of the central principles was that the art was not to compete with god for perfection. So there was an imperfection built in. That program was so compelling that I've used that annecdote--about building in the imperfection so as not to offend the god, as a sort of whimsical excuse for not worrying too much about occasional typos in print documents we produce at the university librayr library. :)

I have a feeling this information came through in a program like Nature, one that examined life in the north African desert and how both animals lived and humans arose there. Lots of discussion of living with very little water, and of life at an oasis, and of the cultures living in that environment.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Gurney
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 12:27 AM

AS I heard it, it was Chinese artists/artisans, because once you see the imperfection, only then do you appreciate the quality of the whole work.
From the look of the tat that we get from China nowadays, some of them take the idea too far.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 12:33 AM

The Zen potters make deliberate glaze drips that they call "controlled accidents" (i forget the Japanese term).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 05:47 AM

I have often heard it said about Islamic art - almost always by people who are trying to excuse a mistake they have spotted either in their own work or in mine.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Captain Ginger
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 06:03 AM

Like Topsie, I've heard it associated with Islamic art, where calligraphers were supposed not to make a copy perfect because that would be blasphemous.
It does seem to be a pretty universal myth - a meme even. Fascinating stuff; any more?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 06:13 AM

Hey, I'll use that excuse next time I stumble over the words of a song, or fluff a chord :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 08:22 AM

OK, here's my theory about perfection. Perfection is impractical. A pot doesn't have to be perfect to hold water. A blanket doesn't have to be perfect to keep you warm.

(Of course, I'm talking about perfection in the decorative pattern only; especially, in the symmetry of the pattern.)

Most consumers don't care about perfection, at least not enough to pay a premium for it, at least not enough of a premium to compensate the artisan for the extra care it takes to achieve perfection. Most consumers don't even notice imperfections that would be obvious to the artisan.

While there is nothing wrong with perfection per se, there *is* something wrong with being a perfectionist. If a potter (especially an unskilled beginner) obsessively tries to make a perfect pot, his productivity will suffer. He will have fewer pots to sell, and will make less money in the long run.

Musicians often have to struggle with perfectionism in the recording studio. If you obsess about trying to lay down the perfect track, it will cost you a fortune in studio time. Eventually you have to decide: "It's not perfect, but it's good enough."

I can imagine a master craftsman advising his apprentice: "Forget about perfection. Just concentrate on learning to make as many pots as you can in a day. That's how you make money. That's how you will support your family."

Consider something that takes a long time to make, such as a hand-knotted Persian rug. Suppose an apprentice rug-maker has been working several days at a normal pace, he's maybe half finished, and he realizes that, so far, he hasn't made any mistakes—his work is perfect. He thinks he has a chance to make a perfect rug, something that is nearly unheard of. Then a while later, he realizes that, a couple of rows back, he did make a mistake after all. He used the wrong color yarn. The temptation would be mighty strong to go back and unravel the last couple of rows and fix the mistake.

But the master forbids it. "Let it go. Keep going." He knows that a tendency toward perfectionism is a liability in the long run, and the apprentice had better get over it.

The apprentice finds this hard to accept. He can't give up hoping that his work will be perfect. He might even imagine that the master has ulterior motives. "He doesn't want me to make anything perfect. He's jealous." This could even lead to a battle of wills between the master and apprentice.

The master might even make a rule: "Make your mistake early on, and get it over with. Then you won't worry so much about the rest of the rug."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 08:37 AM

Interesting thread!

I have it niggling at the back of my mind that I have heard something about this before, but I cant remeber what.

Of course, like a couple of people have suggested, it may just be a craftsman thinking quick, when someone points out a flaw! *G*


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Mo the caller
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 09:05 AM

I've heard a different version.
An item (e.g. knitted garment)is more valued with a mistake as this proves it is hand-made, not machine produced.

I like the 10' rule, we have a saying "its better than it was" to excuse imperfect jobs about the house


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Scoville
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 09:32 AM

Including a deliberate imperfection in a quilt was not peculiar to the Amish. I don't know that anyone still does it since quilting has become so commercialized and competitive, but pretty much every quilter I've ever met knows about at least the *legend* of the deliberate imperfection, and a lot of older quilts have imperfections that may or may not have been deliberate, even if they are otherwise immaculately constructed. None of the quilters I know personally are Amish.

* * * * *

There are plenty of imperfections in my music but none of them are deliberate. Of course, none of my quilting imperfections were deliberate, either. Oh, well.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Celtaddict
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 11:40 AM

I grew up hearing from my grandfather and my mother, about those individual variations that make any handmade or personally performed item slightly different from every other, "That is the print of the potter's thumb." Every handsewn garment (including my white velvet wedding dress) seemed to have a speck of blood in it from a pin or needle stick. I would never presume to think my work would be so nearly perfect that I would need to introduce any imperfection deliberately, but rather assume that artisans of all sorts over the years recognize that there will be these individual variations. To me, they do indicate the human nature of the maker, which in itself has value in this age (or probably in any age). For a practical maker (as the one Jim Dixon describes) to respond with the observation that this is a fact of life and not worth trying to change, and an esthete (such as the oriental ceramicists bee-dubya-ell describes) to see that as part of the interest of the piece, and for the devout ones to consider that perfection is a divine, not a human, trait, and for a philosopher to recognize and accept the inevitable reminder of fallibility or distinction, seem all one to me.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,quest
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 12:56 PM

Evidently this "imperfection" status does not pertain to fruits and vegetables. Modern consumers shopping at super stores are loathe to buy apples and other "fresh produce" that are dented or spotted. In Florida imperfect appearing foods are not allowed to come to market.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: MMario
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 01:01 PM

Ah! But fruits and vegetables are not created by the *human*; in addition to which "dents and spots" can well mean they won't store as well, are already lower in quality, etc.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 01:04 PM

I too have heard the story that Navajo weaving must have an imperfection in it. Don't know where I heard it, though.

Here's a related thing that have more validity. I once read a book about pottery from the pueblos near Albuquerque. (I think it was Albuquerque.) The book was a reprint, probably by Dover, of an original of about 1910.

At that time, the women of the pueblos made huge jars for storing water and food. The jars were very resonant, and the Indians thought there was a spirit in there that made the noise. When the women painted the lips of the jars, they left a little gap so as not to trap the spirit in the jar.

A person of today, seeing the little gap, might invoke the imperfection theory, but that would be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 01:05 PM

Some people would (perhaps blasphemically - is that the right adverb?) take the view that nothing is perfect, even God's creations (the world being a prime example).

There's no such thing as perfection, but doing the best you can is always a good thing IMO, as long as you don't get obsessive about it. Life's too short!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Acme
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 01:13 PM

I'm not so fussy on the produce aisle--if the fruit or veggie is in good shape and simply is oddly shaped or having a scar on it, I'll pick it up. I'm a gardener and have eaten my sometimes perfect and sometimes not-so-perfect bounty for years. Since what I grow or buy usually gets cut up to be eaten raw, or is cut up and cooked, a scar or odd spot can be left on or cut off, depending on the produce. I do this consciously because I shop at a market that operates on a slim profit margin (I don't buy mealy apples or overripe avocados, etc., I'm not talking about that kind of imperfection!). I figure this is my way to help keep this low-cost grocery store in the neighborhood.

I'm also back here to say that I don't think this idea is a "myth" or a "legend." The place I heard it was an authoritative sort of program and I've heard no good reason for dismissing it as suspect.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Celtaddict
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 01:16 PM

I would say, rather, that perfection is not a 'thing' (or no such thing) but an idea, an ideal. I attempt to work toward a variety of ideals, but don't actually expect to reach any of them literally.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 02:06 PM

Jim Dixon's post reminds me of a proverb my father was fond of quoting. If I recall correctly, he said it was a Russian proverb, and it had been invoked during those testy times we had, working out the S.A.L.T. Treaties:

"Don't let the perfect stand in the way of the good."

And, in respons to Celtaddict, I even think that perfection is a false ideal.

Many, many years ago, I was taking a freshmen course in Philosophy, and our professor raised this question that often troubled her: "I have dyslexia and vision problems; if God is perfect, why did He make me imperfect?"

That very question bothered me, but I couldn't put my finger on why, or articulate it in class, but hours later, as I was getting ready for bed, the answer came to me: "God did make you 'perfect'. You may not be a perfect human in the abstract, but you are a perfect 'Kate Lindeman'. No one can be better at being you than you can. And your dyslexia and vision problems (and other quirks of your personal history) give you a unique perspective to solve problems and teach students in a way that no one else can, either."

And the same is true of teacups and blankets, and dresses, and houses. The slight 'imperfections' help establish a relationship between the maker and the object, and the future people to use that object, and without those relationships, the object loses much of its meaning and value.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 02:50 PM

Ancient Chinese ceramics also included the concept of a blemish to avoid hubris.

Perfection is relative to standards, conditions of use, and what precision and accuracy of measurement is considered sufficient.

Aside from that, it is only an idealistic concept, useful for figuring out where to go next but not found in real spacetime.

A


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 03:26 PM

Overripe avocados taste better!

I have heard the Arabian version in the words

"Perfection belongs to Allah, 'tis impiety to achieve perfection".

I'm pretty sure I heard it in connection with the story of a deliberate defect in the columns of a Paris cathedral (not sure of the name, but the one with "Les mains a sept doigts") - I think one column in the vaults was left unfinished - and that in turn with the "apprentices column" - now is that in Ely Cathedral, or York, or a different one? - where the story was that the apprentice was making such a nice job that the master who was jealous of the skill of the apprentice that he murdered the apprentice before the apprentice could finish.....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 03:52 PM

Many moons ago I attended a workshop with someone who declared himself a scholar on old Norse/Skaldic poetry. Alas, my affliction with CRS prevents me from citing the name or any published references, and I have not done sufficient study on my own to verify if what he said was correct. However one part of the discussion went something like this:

1.        Although alliteration and internal rhyme predominate, end-rhyme IS used in (at least some forms of) Skaldic verse,

2.        The first rhyme in a stanza should be perfect (i.e. sun/run) to honor the gods

3.        the second rhyme in the stanza should be imperfect (i.e. shield/heel) acknowledging that men should not be honored at the same level as the gods. (Remember that much of Skaldic verse is poems of praise about a person). This perfect/imperfect rhyme pattern is continued throughout the piece.


Comment re: the idea "perfection is impractical":
A utilitarian item is "perfect" if it fills its intended purpose without fail. Generally, you're eyes are closed when you sleep, so a blanket that keeps you warm is perfect no matter what it looks like! And a song that entertains/educates/changes mood/etc in the intended manner is perfectly written and performed.

It seems to me this notion of undeviating symmetry as a measure of perfection is an artifact of our fascination with abstractions such as mathematics. When you look at an object - ANY object - closely enough (let's say into the microscopic level, to say nothing of the atomic or sub-atomic) you will never find symmetry. Likewise in the largest scales - solar systems, galaxies, etc. The Universe (on both macro and micro scales) is a remarkably sloppy place - yet it is still perfectly itself. Maybe that's a perspective we can all keep in mind.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 04:17 PM

I suppose songs and many other works of art often contain what one might consider "deliberate imperfections" - deviations from symmetry or meter or rhyme or many other expected factors. Many times, these unexpected deviations, these unexpected surprises, are what distinguish the ordinary from the masterpiece.
And sometimes, the deviations don't work.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: open mike
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 04:56 PM

from info about hopi and zuni basket..
there was often a path woven in for the spirits to get out
of a basket.

evokes the perfection found in imperfection; the ... crafts done by local and regional artisans from the Ute, Navajo, Hopi, and. other cultures. ...
www.coloarts.state.co.us/news/clippings/ArtsPerspectivePremiereIssue.pdf

http://www.canyonart.com/roller.htm
\My grandmother says that is fine--it is normal--because you're not perfect. A small imperfection is good because it shows the piece was hand made. ...

on this page http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/v42/n13/deccal.html
is a announcement of a talk called:
Living in Balance: The Universe of the Hopi, Zuni, Navajo and Apache; ... Contemporary Korean Art and the Perfection of Imperfection; ...
(also a film about the Thermin--musical reference!!)
http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/v42/n13/deccal.pdf

evokes the perfection found in imperfection; the ... crafts done by local and regional artisans from the Ute, Navajo, Hopi, and. other cultures. ...
www.coloarts.state.co.us/news/clippings/ArtsPerspectivePremiereIssue.pdf


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 04:59 PM

You'd have to be remarkably confident of your perfection to put in a deliberate imperfection. The important thing is to accept that there will be some imperfection, and that that's OK.

Two quotes to help us do that:

Striving to better oft we mar what's well (Shakespeare)

If a thing's worth doing it's worth doing badly (Chesterton)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 05:03 PM

I grew up in the southwest, and from anglos living there, often heard the intentional imperfection in the rug story. Navajo blankets often have imperfections, but there is always a reason.

1. Design (which is mental, not diagrammed and laid out) is larger than the available material. Result- the end is finished up differently than the beginning.
2. Some weavers did not see 'one end different from the other' as wrong.
3. The 'lazy line.' There is a diagonal line or lines in the weave, often pointed out as 'intentional'.
The Navajo weaver weaves a width that is comfortable for her, without moving from side to side each time she does a row. Master weaver Mary Pendleton, who uses Navajo and Hopi techniques and who worked with them, explains in her book: "If he rug is wider than a comfortable weaving width, she weaves the area in front of her, then moves over and catches the other areas up to where she stopped with the first area. Where these two areas meet, there is a faint diagonal line called the 'lazy line. To join the two aread correctly, proceed as follows:
a. Starting with the right area, weave to the left a comfortable distance and bring your weft to the front. Change shed and weave back to the right edge.
b. Weave to the left but stop one warp thread to the right of the one you just turned on. Change shed and weave back to the right.
c. Continue as above but turn on succeeding warp threads to the right as you weave, forming a diagonal line. .......... and so on-. Get the book (reasonable) if you are interested in Navajo weaving.
Mary Pendleton, 1974 (and reprints), "Navajo and Hopi Weaving Techniques."
4. Old blankets were woven with hand spun and hand dyed wool. Some weavers stick to the old methods. Some have learned new techniques and some have become 'name' artists. Imperfections in hand work are normal. Many modern 'tourist' rugs are made with bought materials.

In the 1860s the Navajo were forcibly removed from their lands and their flocks, fields and orchards destroyed when Carson rounded them up and forcibly removed to flat eastern NM- "the Long Walk." Prior to this, Navajo women made fine blankets, the "golden age," using natural dyes, some brought in from Mexico, their own wool, and yarns reclaimed from Spanish blankets. The art died with the exodus, and, after they were able to return to their
homelands, they lived in poverty.
The U. S. government allowed licensed traders to come into the area. Some of these traders, recognizing that fine work would bring financial reward not only to themselves but to the Navajo, encouraged them to rekindle their arts, even providing pattern books, and developing the 'pawn' system. Hubbell, Bloomfield, Moore and others became legends; regional styles which acquired names developed, and blankets were sold in fine stores, by mail order, and to the wave of tourists coming to the West.
In the 1890-1900 period, aniline dyestuffs became popular, but natural dyes also continue to be used to the present day.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,Bubblyrat
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 05:27 PM

One of the best examples of the noble art of the incorporation of deliberate imperfections in Great Britain is surely the RMS TITANIC ??


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 05:45 PM

Deliberate? Under-appreciated or unrecognized, but not deliberate.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Bert
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 05:56 PM

Only women from Devizes JennyG!

You know it surprises me that so far there has been no mention of George W. Bush.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 07:17 PM

The "Apprentice Pillar" that Richard Bridge mentioned is in Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. The legend about it has been linked to Masonic lore and ritual by the people who like to speculate about the origins and purpose of the Freemasons, Templars, etc. The legend could be interpreted as a cautionary tale about seeking perfection, or about excessive decoration.

The myth of Pygmalion is also about a too-perfect sculpture (although it ends happily).

If you have access to a handmade Oriental rug, I recommend you spend some time searching for imperfections—that is, inconsistencies in the regularly repeating elements of the pattern, or violations of strict symmetry. These are often quite subtle, but unmistakable, once you find them. I think you will find it entertaining and enlightening, if you have never done this before. You will probably find, not one, but many of them in one carpet. I don't mean missing or broken threads—that could be the result of wear and tear—but places where the weaver used the wrong color.

Here's a very detailed and informative web site about Oriental and Persian rugs, with lots of beautiful pictures, but Google couldn't find any discussion there of imperfections, irregularities, errors, mistakes, or flaws etc.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Cluin
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 07:26 PM

Personally, I have no use for perfection. It's boring and it doesn't need anything from me or anyone else. All you can do is put it on a shelf and look at it. It is separate and complete.

Fortunately, I have never encountered perfection (outside of Platonic philosophy) so everything's been pretty jake so far.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: frogprince
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 11:38 PM

But wouldn't it be nice if Microsoft hadn't adopted this philosophy?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: CapriUni
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 01:49 AM

You know, this discussion got me thinking about the myth of Arachne: a mortal woman in the supposed mythic past of Greek Asia Minor* who wove perfect tapestries, and dared Athena herself to a weaving contest. When the costest was over, Athena admitted that Arachne's work was flawless, but its subject matter (Zeus's infidelities) was insulting to the gods.

In a rage, Athena destroyed the work and the loom. And Arachne hung herself out of shame. But the goddess took pity on her, after death, and brought her back to life in the form of a spider.

As far as I can recall, the tale does not end with a specific admonition that you should deliberately include a flaw into your weaving, in order to avoid Arachne's fate, but that's certainly a reasonable conclusion for the reader to make.

*Recorded in the works of Ovid and Virgil, but never appearing as a story on an actual Attic Vase. And after reading through this discussion, it seems that a) the idea of including imperfection to avoid Divine wrath is, indeed, very widespread, and that b) part of this belief is also that it originates with an older, more exotic, or wiser culture than our own (the Navajo, the Ancient Chinese, the Freemasons, or, for Ovid, the ancient people of Lydia) -- almost as if attributing the practice to "the Other" gives it extra authority.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 03:17 AM

speaking of Masonic tradition

A visiting cousin was very interested in the table that 2 of our great-uncles had made as a wedding present for their sister & examined it carefully because they were Masons, & Masons always left something unfinished/imperfect.

As this visit was 20+ years ago & the visiting cousin was a pain in the a*** who I fortunately never met again, I can't remember what he found, but it wasn't the scratches I'd made on it's surface over the years.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 01:31 PM

Nonsense again about intentional imperfections in Navajo weaving. Ditto 'ancient Chinese.'
Once started, such fictions are hard to stop.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 02:18 PM

Forgive me. I was thinking of Japan, not China, and I have been unable to find a preciose reference.

But I can offer this quote about the Zen priciples of wabi sabi:

Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional...
It is also two separate words, with related but different meanings. "Wabi" is the kind of perfect beauty that is seemingly-paradoxically caused by just the right kind of imperfection, such as an asymmetry in a ceramic bowl which reflects the handmade craftsmanship, as opposed to another bowl which is perfect, but soul-less and machine-made.

"Sabi" is the kind of beauty that can come only with age, such as the patina on a very old bronze statue.

Wabi and Sabi are independent word stems in normal speech. They are brought together only to make a point about aesthetics. Sabi is most often applied to physical artistic objects, not writing. A well-known examplar of what one would call a "wabishii" object: black spit polish boots with dust on them from the parade ground. Many Japanese pots, the expensive ones, are dark and mottled -- wabi. "Sabishii" is the normal word for "sad", as in, that was a sad movie.

A related term in literature and the arts is "clinamen", the act of deliberately breaking a stylistic rule to enhance the beauty of an otherwise perfect whole. "

From here.

More to follow if I can find it. The problem is in this notion of "imperfection".

A


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 02:36 PM

Weaving and rug making are unlike most other arts and crafts in that they are essentially digital. (I and don't just mean that they are made by hand--pun intended.)

The warp and weft of the weave mean the field is essentially a rectangular matrix, and each point of intersection of a warp and weft thread is then analogous to a pixel. At each intersection, there is a limited number of choices the weaver can make. (Theoretically, the choices could be infinite, because dyes can be mixed in infinitely variable proportions, but in traditional designs, the weaver is limited to 4 or 5 distinct colors.)

It is only because of this "digitalness" that a deviation from a planned pattern can be clearly identified as an imperfection—or that strict adherence to the pattern can be defined as perfection.

I don't think you can approach the same kind of clarity when discussing, say, pottery, which is not digital, because clay is infinitely malleable, allowing infinitely variable shapes. Rug weavers and potters will inevitably have different ideas of what they mean by perfection, and what the value of perfection is.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 02:54 PM

Here's a moving counterpoint, from a sermon :

"On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an unforgettable sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.

By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play.

But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap -it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant.   People who were there that night thought to themselves: "We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage - to either find another violin or else find another string for this one."

But he didn't. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before. Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, recomposing the piece in his head.       When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room.

And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done. He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone, "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

What a powerful line that is.   Perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: JennieG
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 09:01 PM

Amos, that is a wonderful story. Sort of sums up this thread!

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 09:06 PM

avy Gravy once asked a Zen Roshi, "What happens after death?"

The Roshi replied, "I don't know."

Wavy protested, "But you're a Zen Master!"

"Yes," the Roshi admitted, "but I'm not a dead Zen Master."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Bert
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 12:42 AM

Wonderful Frogprince!!! Trouble is, that nobody there has the intelligence to change things.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 02:08 AM

Well, as I said, Q, I'm am beginning to suspect that the "exotic origin" is part of this Folk Belief in "Deliberate imperfections."

And, yes. Amos. That is a wonderful story...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,Iola Govensky
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 01:38 PM

My grandmother would deliberately change something in a quilt to give it imperfection, and would say only God is perfect. She was Irish, and lived in the mountains of Tn. She would leave an edge out, change a color, reverse a pattern. It also dealt with evil being confused, much as a dream catcher does, or peircing of ears were to confound the evil. She was extremely religious (idle hands are the devils playground) and superstitious. Everything has its basis in life. Even the unleavend bread of Egypt. If it is folklore then it may have its basis in Ariadne and her spinning. Most folklore is based in life. Even the superstitions, have a source should you dig deep enough. How many people have become crushed, or sought death by seeking perfection, It is alright to fail, the world will not end.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Alec
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:56 PM

I have heard the "Persian Rug" variant of this story.
Another that I have encountered is stories of people who live in houses with exposed ceiling beams who take pride in the unique imperfection caused by adze marks.
The adze is a smoothing tool used to smooth out the very imperfections they take pride in, which would have been caused by an axe.
Perhaps many cultures cherish small imperfections & reject or counsel against perfection as a concept?
I think the story of "The Emperor's New Clothes" lends itself to that interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: frogprince
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 07:49 PM

"sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

Beautiful. I would extend that to say that it's the human beings' task to find out what you can do with what you have.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Janie
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 09:44 PM

I skimmed the posts so far pretty quickly and may have missed a reference to the weaving of some African tribes, but in case I didn't, the practice of deliberate imperfection is well documented in several African tribes.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:23 AM

Martin Mull, between songs on his album 'Martin Mull and his Fabulous furniture in your Living Room' (1973), drew attention to his scarf? tie? and said that in the little Portugese village where it was made, a deliberate mistake was woven in as 'only God is perfect'.

Oh, and a friend of mine has a Martin D28, and I noticed that, viewed from the front, the strings on the left-hand side were thicker than the strings on the right! Same principle, surely!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Scrump
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:42 AM

I don't worry about trying to make deliberate mistakes - I will just aim to do the best I can, in the secure knowledge that mistakes will happen of their own accord without any deliberate help for me.

That would apply equally in the extremely unlikely event that I ever make a quilt.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 08:09 AM

Well, I can report something on this from personal experience which sheds a little(but not much) light. A few years back, I did a couple of favours for an Afghan friend. And one day he turned up with an amazingly lovely Afghan rug as a present. So made the usual noises of gratitude, unrolled it, admired it and I said "OK, so where's the mistake". Afghan friend gets a bit huffy and says "I hope there isn't a mistake". So I said, evrybody knows that islamic craftsman always leave a mistake out of respect for Allah, who alone is perfect. And he said what do you mean, he'd never heard thst story before. So I said how interesting, this must be a Western myth about Islam.
   But now, here is the interesting bit. We started having a damn food look at the carpet, as you can imagine. And yes, indeed, in the border we found one mistake, and one mistake alone. One tiny shape is reversed. And no, I don't think it happened by accident. But what this proves I am not sure.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,Paganini
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:58 PM

That young whippersnapper Perlman! I once broke three strings (two of them deliberately after some c**t in the audience laughed when one broke accidentally) and still played on.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: CapriUni
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 01:50 PM

Greg: If one shape was reversed deliberately, than maybe your friend didn't count that as a "mistake"...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: JohnB
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 09:53 PM

Something that Chevrolet obviously followed to the letter when they made my truck.
As a Blacksmith I always try to make everything decoratively different, don't screw with the functionality though.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,Andreea
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 06:55 AM

Hello,
i have read about 3 thirds of this thread, which is very interesting to find so many cultures having this same 'habit'.
i wanted to say something from my experience.
I really like gadgets and stuff so i own quite a lot of electronic devices, i have always believed that a new object, be it electronic or not, will have an 'accident' if i can call it like that, from which it will be broken or not. Because i like taking care of the things i have, i have always believed that a small scratch, dent, tear in the object will prevent the object from being broken, because the accident has already passed. This happens with anything i do also, for example if i do my nails, and in my opinion they look splendid, something has to happen so that they won't look so perfect anymore. And i usually am very happy when i get a measly scratch on them, because that way i won't get my nail broken or something worst than just that small thing.
And this leads me to believe that maybe this is also related to this deliberate imperfections. Because when something is perfect, something has to happen so that it won't be that perfect anymore, maybe in this way they were trying to protect the things they built. there is also the saying 'to perfect to be true'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 09:08 AM

A nice thread you resurrected, Andreea.

We should not confuse irregularity (or breech of convention) with imperfection; the former, as has been pointed out by Joe and others, is a mark of true art, and can well be "perfect" in that sense.

There are some good reasons for deliberate blunders. For example, subordinates may fear the very earthly jealousy of their human masters. As for God in monotheistic religions, in my opinion it amounts to a blasphemous boast to say "if I had not blundered deliberately, I would be as perfect as God!"

In folk revival music - to justify this thread's upline status - deliberate breeches of poetic criteria are frequently committed in order to suggest that the authors are "ordinary folks", or even that the song is old and "genuine". A number of apparently "trad." songs have thus been spread and become popular, whereupon the author jumped from behind a bush and collected royalties.

Needless to say that such practices are not likely to earn you a good reputation. Songwriters should by all means avoid stale regularity, but should account to themselves whatever they do. To my taste, "imperfect rhymes" are rarely a good idea.

Among all the perils for humankind, perfection is the most unrealistic one, except for perfect destruction.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 09:43 AM

My first wife Valerie & I received from her stepfather a fine wedding present when we married 54 years ago ~~ a Royal Doulton tea service, 'Cascade' pattern. I still have it pretty well complete ~~ might once have broken one cup, I think. Doulton is a fine make of Stoke-on-Trent pottery with a high reputation to maintain; so they will no doubt have an elaborate system of inspection &c to ensure that no imperfect work should ever leave the works. But I discovered a fault in the glaze of the milk jug.

Now ~~ Doulton is very collectable. Many collectors specialise in it exclusively. And what I have never been able to establish is whether this fault in my piece would enhance or diminish its value to a collector.

Anyone know?

~M~

(Re original question, btw ~~ always the Persian Carpet version that I have heard.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 10:49 AM

Alan Lomax once talked about "unright" singing" deliberately added into long (epic) songs to keep the attention of the listener - I think it was while he was doing his 'Cantometrics' project - not sure I've ever come across it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Airymouse
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 11:35 AM

In his delightful autobiography, The Scotch, Kenneth Galbraith tells the story of producer of maple syrup who managed one year to avoid any impurities in the collected sap by using plastic tubes. But the syrup didn't taste right, and when the guy's back was turned someone improved the batch by tossing in a handful of leaves and dirt.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 10:29 AM

I haven't found any scientific paper about it, and I heard this story about Hungarian Ceiling tiles... It was fun to read and collect some of the informations over here, with them I wrote a post about it:

http://lapossibilitadiunisola.wordpress.com/

Everybody is imperfect, even professionally trained and veteran sailors.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: GUEST,FABIO
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 11:19 AM

OOOOPS.. this is a better link... sorry 'bout that

http://lapossibilitadiunisola.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/the-imperfect-sailor/


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 12:15 PM

Don't think I saw this thread first time round. Many years ago, in the early days of home computing (think Apple II, Acorn Atom, BBC Micro etc.), long before the Internet, an optician friend of mine asked me to produce a table of values for some purpose to do with producing spectacle lenses. There was a simple formula involved - so away I went, no problem. As a check, I dug out an old book of such info for opticians - and found that my table matched everywhere - except in one obscure corner of the data! "That's alright" said my friend - that combination of values would never be used in practice." I subsequently discovered that publishers of such tables often included such errors deliberately - as a marker of their own versions in case they were copied! Apparently done in other, similar areas also.


Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Rumncoke
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 01:17 PM

The Ordnance Survey maps have small deliberate errors in them so that they can be identified if anyone claims them as their own. It is usually something very small - such as a slight change in a name of a small street.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 05:03 PM

That anecdote about Itzhak Perlman finishing a concert
with only only three strings after a short pause after
one of the strings on his violin broke is awe-inspiring
and beautiful.

Also, unfortunately, it is almost surely false, and an urban
legend.

Click for Snopes checkup on the story.

Although the incident related is probably not factual, the
lesson to be learned is still true, true, true.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Deliberate imperfections
From: JennieG
Date: 06 Dec 14 - 06:40 PM

A variation on the deliberate imperfection story which has been current in Oz for quite a long time (and possibly other places too) concerns the passing on of recipes.

Mary* makes a cake which is served at afternoon tea to her group of friends, and Susie* is so taken with it that she asks Mary* for the recipe. "Certainly", says Mary*, "it has been passed down through my family for many generations but I will let you have it", and in due course a hand-written copy is given to Susie*. Susie* makes the cake which doesn't turn out quite as well as Mary's*....no matter how much she tweaks the recipe, it is never as good.

Apparently Mary* left out a small amount of a crucial ingredient, or changed the amount of a vital ingredient, so that her reputation as Champion Cake Maker Of The District would remain intact.

Note: *Names have been changed to protect those who may be innocent or guilty. Or both. Or neither. I will let you decide for yourself.


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