Perseverance

I’m sometimes torn between writing little daily updates in here, and saving the updates for something significant…or, at least, not-personal. Something that can be of use to other people. But hey, as long as I’m not getting a bunch of traffic — which probably won’t happen without frequent posting (or at least, carefully considered posting which takes SEO into account), who cares, right?

I do remember hearing about an experiment which emphasized quantity over quality… Now that I look it up, I realize it’s in a book I read a long time ago: Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles & Ted Orland, which came recommended by one of my Art teachers. The link above gives the general gist of the story, though it’s also one step later than the story: Kleon is relating seeing the same parable in a slightly different form. (Note: Austin Kleon’s homepage is apparently very interesting…)

The story goes like this: suppose there is a Ceramics class. Now suppose that on the first day of class, the teacher divides the students into two groups. One group will be graded on quantity: the more pots they make, the higher their grades will be, regardless of quality. The other group will be graded on quality: to get an A in the class, they only have to make one pot, but it has to be perfect.

Yes, I do remember the phrase, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Because this phrase comes from the 1700s and — at least, French — before being translated into English in the above (it has been attributed to Montesquieu in 1726 [in Pensées: although it is questionable as to whether all of Pensées can be thus attributed, as the Pensées seems more a collection of “articles” than a finished work] and Voltaire in 1770 [Dictionnaire philosophique, though I couldn’t find the reference in the English translation] and 1772 [La Bégueule: see the Wikipedia article on “Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good” for a link to the poem at Wikisource — in French]), don’t rely too heavily on precise lexical meaning — in English, that is.

Anyhow, so the story goes, the group of ceramicists who were more focused on producing masses of finished works, produced more works of quality, than the ones who were focused only on making one perfect pot, who basically utterly failed. Thanks to a helpful coder at Stanford’s dschool, I know this parable is related on page 29 of Art & Fear...which kept me from having to pore through the entire book again.

And thus, we get the beginning of a new blog post. Who could have predicted that?

In any case, I’m presently involved in incremental learning, though it is a bit frustrating at the same time. I’ve learned, for example, that I’m working with about a 2.5:1 ratio where it comes to the circlet I’m trying to make. Guess what that means? I may not have cut enough cord to finish it.

Yes, a 22″ circlet may indeed require 55″ of material at a minimum, just to get around the head (meaning I would be working with 6 strands of about 2.5′ to 3′ at a time). I’m not sure that my math is right yet; particularly as I had to update my estimates from last night, having realized that I should not include the tails in my calculations.

Luckily, I think I have enough to restart.

I do now have a sizable sample that I can continue working on until I run out of cord (just for funsies). It does look pretty, but — ah, I forgot to mention this — I cut the cords for one side at 1.5 yards, instead of 2.5 yards…so I pretty much jacked myself up. This is because I was trying to rush to get things done before dinnertime, and just utterly forgot how much cord I was using. It didn’t help that the first half of the piece — around 9″ of knotting (I was trying to give myself some wiggle room) — was already done: I couldn’t compare the old and new cord lengths.

This is essentially the same scenario as the time I cut the drawstring on a bracelet instead of a cord which needed to be cut, and then couldn’t go back and fix it (if I were braver, I might have tried to fuse on a new length). I was rushing, eager to get things done, not paying attention. Whenever cords are cut, I need to be paying attention.

On top of that, 2.5 yards on one side of the circlet, was a guess: I may need more like three yards for a doubled cord on one side of the circlet, to give me enough space to actually end the thing with anything adjustable.

Yeah, I’m basically frustrated, but at least I don’t have to cut the thing apart for materials and ruin some scissors at the same time. Why don’t I just cut off the short side?

  1. I already started a desperation move to lengthen the long side and close the circlet on the side of the head instead of the back; but I don’t think it will work. I still, that is, don’t think I have enough cord.
  2. I put a lot of work into knotting the short side. I might as well keep the thing as an example.

Uggh. Not to mention that I had to actually figure out what color cord I was using, so that I could reorder it. Much of today was spent trying to figure out exactly which colors of C-Lon cord I have. I feel a bit better about that, but it’s really obvious which colors are most useful: they’re the ones which are stored in kits of my own making, and not with the rest of the C-Lon.

It’s also really obvious that cameras don’t always pick up some of the finer points of the colors I have…but I think I’ll save a discussion on that, for another day.

The good thing is, I’m learning. Even if I have to start over.

Published by Haruna

Haruna is a Librarian by training, currently pivoting from Public Services into Technical Services. Their undergraduate major was English -- Creative Writing, and they hold an additional small degree in Art (i.e. Visual Arts). They are now pondering whether a career in Academia is viable or desirable, given the current situation.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: