A Mistake? Or Chance for Embellishment

The fake grass is there for a reason.

The fake grass is there for a reason.

Ah, Spring. Reminds me of the four seasons (plus night and day) birdhouse project I created for Lifetime Learning Institute. We covered a wooden birdhouse with a polymer clay veneer.
Before the class began, I took great pains in making patterns for the sides and roof. The challenging piece was Spring, as it had a hole and wooden perch. I fidgeted with the pattern until I was satisfied it was a good fit.

Each week of class was devoted to making the veneer for one section.  In the last class we mounted the veneers with Elmer’s glue.

Well, when it came time for assembly, there was no consistency in how the pieces fit. The most problematic piece was–you guessed it–Spring. The holes in the polymer clay veneer didn’t always align just so with the holes in the birdhouse. What was most noticeable was exposed wood in the birdhouse entrance. It turns out that even though all the birdhouses were the same model and SKU, they had slight variations. What would fit one birdhouse wouldn’t fit another.

I’ve often quoted Lisa Pavelka to my classes: “A mistake is an opportunity for embellishment.” One of the class participants, Jeanne Schmidt, came up with a perfectly natural embellishment. She glued some artificial grass in the hole. That idea was far superior to my solution of painting the exposed wood to camouflage it. Jeanne’s embellishment reminded me that my job isn’t about having all the answers but more about creating the space for participants to discover the answers themselves. .

2 Comments on A Mistake? Or Chance for Embellishment

  1. Cam
    March 30, 2015 at 2:21 pm (3 years ago)

    Perfect reaction – response. Surprising how often something becomes much more complicated than we expect.

  2. Zan
    March 30, 2015 at 4:14 pm (3 years ago)

    Great project and lesson. I remember how hard you worked on it and the results were wonderful. I used to watch an interior design show that had a designer named Frank on it. He called things like the hole mismatch a happy accident that allowed a person to improve/improvise the original plan.


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