Issue Three T.O.C. - On Perfection: Both Practical and Practiced

Upcoming in Issue Three: “On Perfection: Both Practical and Practiced” by Jim McConnell

An idea is like a rabbit. You can’t sneak up on it. You have to let it sneak up on you. Like most creative types, I feel like in some ways I’ve been chasing perfection for most of my life without ever asking what that might really mean. Lately I’ve had some questions.

I’ve started to wonder, what is so compelling about the idea of perfection? Is perfection a product or a process? Is it something that stands out there in the ether or something that can be actualized? Is it an idea or something you can stub your toe on in a dark room? Does it mean the absence of error or the evidence that a tangible object has been crafted by hand? When we say a thing is perfect, what do we mean and why?


Last year I decided to seek wise counsel on the topic and began asking other craftspeople to explain “perfection” with the only constraint being that they do so in one-thousand words or less.  The answers I received were so diverse and interesting that I began publishing them each month as part of an ongoing project on my blog. Naturally, a conversation ensued. I’ve largely tried to stay on the periphery of that conversation until now, but in issue three of Mortise & Tenon Magazine, Joshua has asked me to finally weigh in on the subject. The generous soul that he is, he’s even given me an extra 1000 words. In those 2000 words I’ve tried to offer some thoughts on the matter of perfection that are both practical and honest.


I’ve come to believe that perfection is not so much a goal but a practiced habit. As craftspeople, perfection is in our heads, but also our hands and our hearts. It’s in the snick of the fore plane and in the quiet as the last coat of finish is wiped on. Perfection can drive us mad or it can drive us to a deeper understanding of who we are and why we do what we do. In my experience, the later seems like a better road to travel, and I hope you’ll join me.


- Jim McConnell


Stay tuned for Monday's announcement of the last article upcoming in M&T Issue Three...

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