On Making Mistakes

This post originates from a reply to Wanni’s question on what if I make a mistake in a cutout.

There are several things I do. If I make a mistake in the beginning of the cutout, I start over. That said, I had started over after nearly finishing a piece and that was quite painful. Sometimes, I can work around the mistake and make it look right. The irreversible ones are those that I cut away too much paper.

Other times, I make mistakes because the tools are not functioning like they should. For example, a sharp blade is not only safer but also produces a clean cut line. So don’t save on keeping a tired blade. The self-healing cutting mat can also cause problem if it has hardened in spots I am not aware of. The hardened spots cause the blade to slide too fast.

Given we are human beings, I accept that mistakes happen and don’t stress over it too much. The best strategy is to prevent it from happening to begin with. Careful planning is time-consuming but it really helps. And I also work in silence to ensure total concentration. I find it very effective because most of the times when a mistake occurs, it is due to a distraction.

“Hanging Gown” is the one that I had to cut over. The mistake was made at the end on the far lower left side of the chain link fence when I cut away too much paper in one of the large diamond shapes. I started cutting the piece from the far right.


Hanging Gown

Hanging Gown, rice paper cutout, 7x14", 2006

So after having to re-cut “Hanging Gown”, I made a cutout titled “Intentional Mistake” to comfort myself. In it, I rotated a line in the “wrong” direction on purpose. Can you find it?


Intentional Mistake

Intentional Mistake, rice paper cutout, 7x14", 2006