Darcy Lewis Design

Adventures in "Good Enough" Design

What is “Good Enough” Design?

“Good Enough” Design is my philosophy of art and living.  In a nutshell, reaching for perfection, constantly striving to better your technique and craft, to hone your skill, is what we should all be doing as artists and as people.  Regardless of what you do, you should always try to be better, to do better, than you were/did yesterday.  HOWEVER, we should recognize that this is an ongoing process, and NOT fall apart when we make or do something that falls short of that ideal (as it inevitably will).  Muslim artists traditional included a deliberate flaw in their work, as a recognition that only God can achieve perfection.  Bloomingdale’s Department Store used to employ knitters to hand-knit very expensive men’s socks, and they were hired with the express instruction to include flaws in every pair so that they could be recognized as handmade.  So why do so many of us berate ourselves and denigrate our work for its imperfections?

I am not saying that if someone hires you for a custom project you fob them off with work you know to be sub-standard.  Set standards for yourself and hold yourself accountable to meet those standards.  But don’t make those standards so impossibly high you will always fail.  Good Enough is recognizing that while you have not achieved perfection, you have done your work to the best of your ability and you find that acceptable.  Since you learn from everything you do, you know that next time it will be better, but you are satisfied with this piece right now.  It is essentially recognizing that you have reached for the moon, but you are okay to have landed among the stars, to paraphrase Les Brown.

So I am proud to be a Good Enough artist, partner, person.  I keep striving, but I am working on being happy with my present, too.

I put this explanation at the end of the Bog Coat tutorial post, and I’m including it here because I think it’s so important to understand:

A final word on my projects in general:  You may have noticed (ahem) that there is an awful lot of “about 10 inches”, and “roughly…” and “oops, I measured wrong…”  I advocate the philosophy of Good Enough.  Shoddy, poor-quality work is not an accepted part of Good Enough, but Good Enough is about recognizing that there some things that matter and some things that don’t really matter.  No one but me – and you because I told you – know that the ties were supposed to be a different size.  They don’t affect the finished product in any meaningful way.  All too often, we hear this chorus of perfection – from the Martha Stewarts of the world, to the super-strict sewing teacher that made you cry when your points weren’t perfectly aligned, to the endless demands from society that we somehow be Perfect Mothers, Perfect Wives, Perfect Daughters, and Perfect Housekeepers (even if we have a full-time career) with Perfect Bodies.  I say ENOUGH.  It’s ok if the house is not immaculate, if your quilt points don’t perfectly match, if you never lost the pregnancy weight from the baby that’s now in college, if you fed the kids non-organic hot dogs for third dinner in a row because you’re exhausted and they’ll at least eat that without a fight.

My projects encourage you to aim for Good Enough – not perfection (highly overrated!).

(General rules – you may share this project and the Good Enough idea – but please be sure to properly credit me, and share it by linking back to this page – not just copying and pasting.  I know you respect the amount of effort that goes into developing interesting content for you! )

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