· By Studio

Perfect Imperfection

We've been thinking a lot about perfectionism recently. It can be a huge hindrance to the creative process, leaving you to feel there's no point in trying. You can find all the pleasure is drained out of the very thing you love most. It's no surprise; there's a lot of pressure - especially in this age of social media - to try to create work that is totally without fault. We see only a beautiful finished product, and not necessarily the hard graft it took to get there.

This way of thinking has fed into decorating trends of recent years. There's a tendency to design spaces to suit the frame of a photograph. This curated aesthetic seems to leave no space for the stuff of life: the mess and disorganisation and ever-changing emotions. It doesn't feel wholly realistic.

At CommonRoom, we believe in the beauty of the imperfect, which goes hand in hand with freedom of expression. We love seeing interesting combinations of colours, patterns, periods and styles. There are no rules, just your own personal journey with how you want to decorate your space. There is adventure to be found in the less refined, more authentic touches. This is what gives a home personality.

Silk Stripe wallpaper by C.F.A Voysey.

When we stumbled across Voysey's design for a striped woven silk in the V&A archives, we knew it would make a remarkable wallpaper. It felt hugely gratifying to have discovered something from 1918 that feels like it was made yesterday: the design has retained the hand-painted watercolour shades and the pencil lines drawn by Voysey himself. The result is a pattern whose value lies in its imprecision. A far cry from defined, linear pin stripes.

Ribbons Wrap You Up wallpaper in green, by Susie Green.

Susie Green's Ribbons collection features a wallpaper in three colourways, and is a modern take on the classic Regency stripe. It's an example of a traditional aesthetic made playful. As an artist, Susie's skill lies in not taking herself too seriously. The result is work that is memorable and magic. She reminds us every day not to be limited by inhibition.

Allison Duncan writes on the topic of 'loose, laissez-faire lines' for the Wall Street Journal, 'From utilitarian ticking to preppy pinstripes, linear motifs never go out of fashion. But this season decorators are lining walls with a new type of stripe, one that’s organic rather than rigid, undulating rather than uptight. Applied via wallpaper or hand-painted directly, the effect is a fuss-free and refreshing update on the sometimes-staid style.' Have a read here.

Kintsugi, the traditional Japanese art of repair.

Legendary music producer Rick Rubin writes in his memoir, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, 'In Japanese pottery, there's an artful form of repair called kintsugi. When a piece of ceramic pottery breaks, rather than trying to restore it to its original condition, the artisan accentuates the fault by using gold to fill the crack. This beautifully draws attention to where the work was broken, creating a golden vein. Instead of the flaw diminishing the work, it becomes a focal point, an area of both physical and aesthetic strength. The scar also tells the story of the piece, chronicling its past experience.

'We can apply this same technique to ourselves and embrace our imperfections. Whatever insecurities we have can be reframed as a guiding force in our creativity. They only become a hindrance when they prevent our ability to share what's closest to our heart.'

Sometimes the best results come from taking a creative plunge and not being overly fussy or precise. Joy can be generated from loosening the reins a little... and this applies to life as much as interior design.

Further reading...

Silk Stripe by C.F.A Voysey

Susie Green for CommonRoom

The Japanese art of kintsugi

The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

'The New Type of Stripe Interior Designers Can't Get Enough Of', The Wall Street Journal


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published