:: My mother gave me two vintage linen tote bags: one with peacocks done in a knot stitch, the other a border motif in cross stitch. They are both so well executed. I can see a few "extra" stitches on the cross stitch. You can too if you look carefully.
:: These extra stitches remind me of the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi, which in general means the acceptance of imperfection and transience. How freeing is that, particularly set next to some of the Western ideas about beauty and perfection?
:: Here are some other words I came across to describe the qualities of Wabi-sabi: simplicity, economy, austerity, asymmetry, modesty, irregularity, and appreciation of natural objects and processes.
:: I one time made some Raku pottery. In Raku, the vessels are fired at a low temperature. When you remove them from the kiln, they are immediately submerged in cold water (traditionally maybe even tea water!) or smothered in material, such as sawdust, which catches on fire and then finally cools. This dramatic process from hot to cool causes very unexpected, uncontrollable results: crackling of the glaze, marks from the smoke and fire. Raku is a very good example of Wabi-sabi in action.
:: I also like to think about Jazz music and the quilts I have seen made by African American women (see here and here). Improvisation leaves lots of room for imperfection and happy accidents.