Happy Accidents

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and I was the mother of the bride back in 2002. I couldn’t find precisely the right dress for the occasion, so decided to make it instead. My daughter Erin love sunflowers, and chose greens and yellows for her colors, so I decided to try painting a silk scarf with a somewhat abstract sunflower motif to wear with the olive green skirt and blouse I had made.

Something interesting happened while we were planning that wedding. The family got super creative. We delved into fiber art like crazy, and it was a delightful way to wind down together in the midst of wedding craziness. We ordered silk scarves and fabric paint, and played with them. After successfully creating the scarf I envisioned, we moved on to work with some other techniques such as sun painting and the use of salt on paint and dye. When added to the painted or dyed surface of a natural fabric, salt will draw out some of the pigment around it as it dries, leaving a starburst effect. It was while we were experimenting with salt that we had our happy accident.

Erin had laid out her silk, wet it down and applied a beautiful mauve color she had mixed up. She decided to add a bit of salt to the project. You’re really only supposed to use a little… well, the Trader Joe’s Himalayan salt grinder’s lid fell right off, and a giant pile of pink crystals landed in the middle of her piece! She panicked for a minute, and then got to work spreading the enormous amount of salt all over the scarf. She thought it would turn out horrible, but it turned out beautiful. She gave it to me, and I still wear it when I can.

What we learned from the experience was that while being creative, be open to things happening that you didn’t plan on. Art pieces have a soul and a mind of their own, and it’s better not to fight it. We try to go with the flow, working with openness and intuition. Sometimes things genuinely turn out horribly, and that’s okay. More often than not, though, when we let go and trust, we allow creative magic to happen.

Wishing you many happy accidents,