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Huh??? Is this a puzzle, a paradox, an oxymoron? Maybe she’s just a moron (only some days!!). In fact, imperfection is acceptable, desirable and to some (those of us who are discerning!) particularly preferable. As always it is a perspective issue.

Once upon a time there was only the handmade. Everything we needed, from our bowls and clothes, to our shelters and adornments were handcrafted. Often painstakingly, laboriously, methodically and patiently. Raw materials changed and moulded into the useful and also, because we have an aesthetic nature, the beautiful. By its very nature handmade is inherently imperfect. As time progressed so did we (?!?). We educated ourselves and became so clever that we mechanised most things. Now don’t get me wrong, heaven forbid that we have to give up the dishwasher or the washing machine. And if they are not in perfect working order – I am woman hear me roar – loudly!! However, with the mass produced we lost something wonderful and beautiful – imperfection.

For some of us of a particular age (no need to spell this out – we know who we are), we are the product of a time when it was cheaper, and certainly easier and far less time consuming, to buy the mass produced and readily available. Clothes, adornments, linens, etc. Just pop down to the local department store and there it all was ready and waiting for our eager hands (and greedy credit cards!!). And we demanded perfection of these store bought goods, righteous indignation flaring whenever we found a wonky seam, a loose button or a colour variation. Perfection. The cost? To a certain extent – individuality and creativity.

Fast forward a little to now. We know it must be so because the modern barometer of all things cool and hip and happening (the Celebrity) has told us so – DIY is back!!! With a vengeance! Modern media, both print and electronic, are flooded with all manner of DIY, from cooking to gardening to renovations. Craft has once again found its place on the top of desirable ‘to do’ lists. Uniqueness and individuality once again prized and recognised for the thoughtfulness, love and effort they symbolise. While not turning our backs on the convenience of modern time saving devices, we are embracing the opportunity to sooth our fast lives with the creativity and serenity that handmade provides. An opportunity to send the message of love, thanks and appreciation that is embedded into handmade. To express ourselves and our individuality, our uniqueness and our visions with handmade. Those imperfections of form that say ‘this was made by me for you’. Teachers are clever people – they know the incredibly naff Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts our children have made are the most treasured and beautiful things we have ever seen!! Often we still have them when little Johnny presents us with grandkids!!

Revered quilters that they are, the Amish include imperfections in their work deliberately (my imperfections are very clever, they include themselves!!!). Thankfully, we have arrived at a time of renewed appreciation for and a yearning to create individuality, uniqueness and emotional reward through the beauty of the handmade.

Perhaps when rubbing one of those lamps (see previous post) I found one clever Genie who imparted some wisdom – Go and hand make and make the imperfect my perfection.


I am Karen Pior and "Sew Well Maide" is where I wear my business hat. I also have other hats - mother to five, wife to one (!!!), sister, daughter, friend.  My hats are interchangable or, as frequently happens, worn precariously stacked on top of each other!  I am passionate about all things fabric and textile, in particular patchwork quilts both modern and antique. I love the excitement of designing and stacks of fabric bolts give me a quiet little thrill!  When time allows I love reading, veggie gardening, watching tv.  I try to never, ever miss an opportunity to yell and cheer as the football, soccer, cricket and ballet Mum.  As well as my etsy shop I can be found @

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Comment by glenda m on December 11, 2011 at 2:13am

well spoken

my family always thought it was cool to have handmade one off pieces of clothing luckily they still do

long live all

Comment by Sue Smith on December 10, 2011 at 12:10pm

Well said, Karen. I enjoyed your article. It reminded me not to take myself so seriously.

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