Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Perfection and Eloquence

Having the privilege to be a lecturer I benefit from learning not only from my students but also learning about myself, reflected back to me through my own teaching. Recently I have found myself repeatedly apologising to students for being a perfectionist, but perhaps I should worry less about nagging them to trim the edges of the pages to the same size or remove dangling threads. It isn't that I have an objection to scruffiness, but rather it is more about getting things right. By this I mean if something is intended to have beautifully distressed surfaces or messy edges as an important part of the idea you want to convey, then do it with conviction.

Fortunately I came across the words of Audrey Walker, who is so wise and much better with words than I can ever hope to be:

"Craftsmanship is essential for eloquence in any medium and many tediously worn out arguments about 'fine art' or 'craft' might be set aside if it could be agreed that we are engaged in a common endeavour to make things with as much conviction -eloquence- as we can manage." Audrey Walker

For me getting the finishing quality of something right is so important, it completely transforms how that artwork or object is understood by people. I suppose it is about fulfilling the artistic vision; realising your goal.

Is it good or bad to be a perfectionist artist?

Do I set myself up for failure by having high expectations that can never be realised?

Is craftsmanship still relevant in the digital age?

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this; please leave a comment.


  1. I believe that craftsmanship in even more relevant in the digital age. It's more precious. It's good to aim for perfection, but the process should be more important than "perfection", because once we reach perfection there's nothing more to strive for.

    cheers, Colette

  2. Craftsmanship is absolutely relevant! Digital tools are just tools and they must be used with skill, just as physical ones must be to produce sensitive and robust work.

  3. craftsmanship is excellence. it comes in many forms. i think it is a reflection of persistence and is a balance between vision and action.



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