SophiaComment

Using Mistakes: on Mothers, Baking, Art, and May Flowers Drawn in the Cursive of Color and Crochet

SophiaComment

Poppycakes, when online auctioning, is a major fan of Etsy. They are good to sellers and buyers alike and the "vibe" there, unlike many online auction venues, is largely warm, human, humane. Often, packages arrive with little extras, gifts, gorgeous giftwrapping and there is an artsy bent to the whole enterprise.

Mother's Day approaches, as does the birthday of Mamacat Cakes. (We are all kinds of May in my circle of beloveds.) In my trinket-travels I tripped across an unusually lovely experience, even for Etsy: a mother-daughter artist duo in Turkey.  The work is stunning, bold, vibrant and risky. But what I really responded to was the kind of jazzy-improv, free-form feel of the pieces. "Using your mistakes," was how the mother described her technique and I thought of baking, how once ages ago, I tried to make gingerbread (exotic to a Greek family: this gingerbread of yours) and the dryness of the dough convinced me that I'd botched it. I threw the batch away. You see, I had a sense that baking chemistry was such that I would be unable to save the recipe and, as with the trickiness of some Greek dishes, I had not the benefit of my mother's hand in the dough showing me the proper consistency again and again. "See, you'll think this is too runny, but this is how it should feel," or "the rice and meat should be about this moist and you use this much in the center of a grape leaf, you fold it like this".  But here, watching these crocheted and beaded ballet of fingers and yes, error, I am reminded that when you're really inside of a creation, really absorbed in the feel of making it up, an intuition takes hold and that can make for a whole symphony of new possibilities and beautiful, beautiful mistakes made good. I know that from writing, have somehow always written with that abandon, but I have been less accepting of it in my other endeavors. And it has sometimes taken me a terribly long time to comprehend it in life: my errors, my "roads not taken" have also been roads taken and other choices and those choices gave me other chances and some of those chances have amounted to a pretty wonderful composition of days.