Too hard on myself?

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I have heard that Shakers deliberately (?) included imperfections in their work so that it was clear that it was not made by a human, not God.
Mark
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Come again?
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Leon wrote:

I don't know about Shakers but that concept is certainly true about Muslims. The prayer mats they weave always have an intentional mistake in the weave because nothing on earth should be perfect but God.
THAT'S IT! I'll sell my stuff as Muslim holy trinket boxes complete with God-pleasing imperfections.
FoggyTown
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To me it is about humility. Trying to be perfect assumes that it is possible to be perfect, which of course is not possible. Recognizing that the things we make are imperfect reminds us that we aren't perfect, either.
As others have mentioned, you could build boxes with a CNC machine could probably be "perfect," but to me one of the reasons to make pieces by hand is so that you can see the hand of the maker in the item. Since the maker isn't perfect, the box isn't perfect, either.
I think what the Shakers were getting at is that if we assume that we can make something that is perfect, then we are starting to put ourselves in a position reserved for God. I am not familiar with it, but the Muslim belief sounds similar.
(Of course I get just as upset about glue marks as you do.)
Mark
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A careful examination of Shaker furniture will not show too many pieces that are "perfect." They were trying to make a living and as efficiently as possible. The degree of skill likely varied as much within the Shaker community as it did elsewhere. Over-cut pins on blind dovetails, dovetail pins on compound angles cut perpendicular to the angle rather than in line with the grain, dovetails that end on half tails instead of half pins, "designs" that almost defy logic... all can be found. I've got photos of some of these things and books like John Kassay's "The Book of Shaker Furniture" have photos and measured drawings showing other of the defects in workmanship.
It is not my intent to "slam" the Shakers by any means. I'm actually a huge fan of their work and admire them for the dedication to their faith. I also let my mind wander while walking around places like Hancock Shaker Village and the Shaker Museum and Library and can almost hear them at work....
As one of the guys said during the handcut dovetail class I taught last weekend "Who has to deliberately make mistakes in their work?"
John
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hmm... I'll have to remember that excuse.. *g* Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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foggytown wrote:

FWIW, I seem to recall a disclaimer from a well known producer of hand made leather goods (can't remember who now, it was a long, long time ago) to the effect that the products will contain small imperfections and that these show that they were hand made to order rather than churned out by a machine.
--
--John
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Sun, Jun 18, 2006, 2:57am (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (foggytown) doth pondereth: <snip> Question for the wreckers here who do pieces for customers. Are you ever truly satisfied with your work to the point where you think it will probably be rejected? Or am I overestimating the capacity of the public to be critical of something they can't do to begin with?
Well, judging from the picture of that box, I can tell why your stuf isn't selling. Some kind of blue mold or something in it. LOL
Judging from the quality of some of the stuff I've seen for sale, and the hefty prices tacked on them, and actually sometimes selling, I'd say just go ahead and sell your stuff - at a reasonable price - and just keep on trying to improve it. I get people telling me how good some of my stuff is, and it should really sell well - but they don't buy. The quality of my work is certainly at least as good as most of the stuff for sale out there, and a lot better than maybe 40-50% of what's out there. So, I keep trying to improve what I make, changing the design, etc. I feel good about my work, and don't let it bother me. My problem is, I do NOT care for salespeople, at all, and have a very hard time with the fact that I will have to "become" a salesperson to sell my stuff. It's a moral issue, and I'll probably get over it. I think what I need is someone who sells at a flea market to sell on commission for me.
JOAT Politician \Pol`i*ti"cian\, n. Latin for career criminal
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I'd prescribe a healthy dose of realism... Go window shopping
I think that most of the general public has no idea what constitutes quality work. I've been in some of the "up scale" furniture stores around here. The ones where a dining room set costs more than all my shop. I've seen countless pieces with finishes *I* would not tolerate on my work. Doors and drawers that don't quite line up. The list goes on. The general public buys a lot of mass produced junk that's labeled "heirloom".
Looking at jewelry boxes in the store, I've only once seen one or two that I thought were really well done. Gorgeous burls, immaculate finish, everything fitted together perfectly. The prices ranged US$750.00-1250.00. I don't think they sold very many of those. The $39.95, badly veneered, pine boxes, however, moved like hotcakes.
Take one of your pieces, place it next to a store bought piece. Look how much better your joints fit, how even your finish, how much nicer it looks. *That* is the typical customer's response.
That said, I do it too. Every little blemish stands out to me. When it starts bugging me I go over to my little poplar and walnut book rack. It was the first thing I built. I compare the "then" with the "now" and take comfort in that while the "now" isn't perfect, it is getting /better/.
dcm
foggytown wrote:

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