Monday, 29 April 2013

making mistakes

Do you make mistakes? 
I think mistake-making is terrribly wonderfully totally super important. 
I tell my kids, and other kids, and people that whenever I can. 

When I'm running workshops with people who declare they couldn't do something (like weaving or stitching and printing) because they might not do it perfectly - well I tell those people that they have to make mistakes to learn something. Sometimes when you make a mistake it really is a mistake, but you learn from it don't you (or you keep on making the same mistake until you do learn..... eventually).

Mostly I think when we make mistakes, in life and in art, we make something else as well. I found this quote on pinterest, and oh boy it so resonates with what I feel and think about mistake making. When you make mistakes you make something new. Oh golly - isn't that a perfect way of thinking about it. 

Did you know that cheese was a mistake. A long (long long loooooooonnnnnnnnnngggg) time ago there was a woman (let's say a woman, but it could have been a man) walking through the desert with some fresh camel or goat milk in a pouch. The pouch was made of animal, and had a lining of animal guts. Oh you know that stuff - yeah rennet. With the warmth of the day, and the movement of the walking woman, the milk jiggled all about in that animal pouch and turned from runny milk to firmer cheese. It probably was a bit disappointing to go and have a sip of milk, and find it a teeny bit soured and lumpy. Anyway, so the story goes, mistake making made a good thing!
{along these lines, I always wonder how the first person discovered that you could separate egg whites from yolks and make different things with each. Oh - imagine no meringue!}. 

Anyway. This should really remind you, and push you to make mistakes. Mistake making is good. Except in exams that are important - maybe don't make mistakes then. But in art, please do make mistakes and then learn to make new creations.


  1. Yes! I need to be making mistakes. Second week of school holidays I need to MAKE anything before I go slightly crazy! S:)

  2. What a great post Ellie and so true! I have such a love hate relationship with mistakes. We are taught when we are young to aim for perfection only to find that perfection so often lacks personality. I think its a necessary friction. I am only now learning to let more of the mistakes be and enjoy the surprises of (as you say) the new creations. : )

    1. Hi Ellie, Your blog is relatively new to me but every time I visit I am so inspired by stunning images, thoughtful writing and creative process.

      I’ve just spent this afternoon compiling a new blog post in reply to being nominated for the Liebster award, and part of that is ‘paying forward’ the appreciation. And I find your work so inspirational I couldn't resist nominating you! Please whizz over to Ink Caravan to find out all the lovely details.
      Thanks again, Alisa xx

      ps. I know lots of us are stretched for time so I've made some adjustments.

  3. oh i think i'm a reformed afraid-to-mistake-er … they still don't come easy … but i recognise them as a chance for growth rather than a reason to run and hide (mainly) these days … it goes hand in hand with something an amazing woman once told me about design work … often the secret to ending up with a good design is doing the hundreds and hundreds of 'crappy' sketches required to get the bad ideas that won't work out of your system and allow you the mental space to discover the truly awesome ideas buried behind the mountain of not-quite-rights … clever huh?


    (thank you for your thoughts on instagram … fully appreciated)


Thank you for your words and thoughts. I do so appreciate each and every visitor to my blog. While I try hard to reply to your comment, it often doesn't quite happen..... know that I'm sending you a thoughtful thanks xxx

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