Miss Mimi’s Inspiration: What Arts and Crafts Taught Me About Grace.

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William Morris was a very talented designer in the late 1800’s and one of the biggest advocates from the Arts and Crafts Movement which lasted from the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s (his designs and a photo of himself are seen above). During the Arts and Crafts Movement Morris opposed the use of technology to make items that were once hand crafted. The issue of the industrial age was the demand for perfect quality every time you made an item. There was a forced consistency, and with each new and perfect piece the quality of handcrafted materials seemed less and less appealing because of minor imperfections. Today we have the Citizen’s movement based on the same principals as the Arts and Crafts movement and many websites like Etsy and E-bay to emphasize hand crafted materials and the beauty in their quality.

For Christmas one of my roommates received a hand crafted melted crayon canvas that said Joy comes from acceptance. I took that quote to heart and recently I’ve been observing people a bit more closely to see if there was truth in it. What I’ve discovered is no one likes to have to stand and wait in line much anymore. People are rude to waiters who mix up orders. People who go the speed limit or perhaps 5 mph over (which mind you is obeying the law) are often honked at (if only that) by a single impatient person who would rather go 80 in a 65 zone. Websites aren’t fast enough. Kiosks aren’t user friendly enough and cause unnecessary rages from people who would rather not stand and wait for someone to make their transaction. There is a cacophony of dissatisfaction no matter where you go.

From these observations we see a world of impatiens and intolerance, but over all a high demand for perfection. It’s no wonder people aren’t satisfied these days, they demand Heaven on earth and in most cases Heaven looks like what they want. Most people would simply say that perfection is everything going their way.

Employers often fire people after the three strikes and you’re out rule. Being a business oriented person I can understand employers wanting efficiency in their work place, but does it never occur to anyone to think that people are prone to mess up perhaps 6 or 7 times before they finally begin to develop a rhythm for things? Suddenly this three strikes and you’re out applies to everything. Relationships, work environments, insurance, etc… It’s become socially acceptable to be perfect and taboo to show imperfection even once.

One of my favorite quotes from William Morris is this one:

 No man is good enough to be another’s master.

There is beauty in imperfection. We can learn from being imperfect. We can gain compassion from being imperfect. We can relate to people because of our imperfections. Yet we do not appreciate any of those beautiful gifts that result from imperfection. Isn’t it true? No one really is better than another person! So why are we so keen on demanding perfection from those around us, when we are not even close to perfect ourselves? Where’s the grace? Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Accept things aren’t always going to go perfectly and suddenly the stress melts away. You cannot be held responsible for things that are not in your control and neither can anyone else. Be gracious to those who are flawed (which means everyone). Perhaps if we do, we can show the world that socially acceptable doesn’t always mean morally correct.


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