Perfection may be the enemy of practicality. Let me give you an example. For years I made a line of cherry and maple cutting boards with carved details – leaves and stems. They were popular show items, and I always kept a few in stock. If you do boat and craft shows, you always look for popular things to sell from your booth. But being mindful that these were cuttings boards and subject to heavy use, I kept the carving bold and not very detailed. You don’t want a bit of carved maple in your salad.

But there are people who think that something like a cutting board shaped like a pear or strawberry should genuinely represent a pear or strawberry. At first, I tried to explain that that much detail in a heavily used item was not great. After that, I stopped trying to explain the apparent to Captain Oblivious. I shrugged and accepted payment for the not-perfect but lovely cutting board.

Now, comments and suggestions from customers are frequently the impetus for new products or changes in the old. So I listen carefully to suggestions. The only ones I outright reject are requests for inappropriate perfection or those that are impossible to achieve for the price point at which the item has to sell. Sometimes notes about improvements sit waiting until I figure out how to do a technique. But perfect, I don’t do. Instead, I aim to achieve lovely, fantastic, attractive, and useful.

In terms of things, I carved for boats and made for people’s kitchens, perfectly practical and lovely was the goal.

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