Salvaging a Design Failure



I know artists who save some of their early paintings as a reminder that in spite of their doubts, they are making progress. Others more ruthless, cast their failures into the fireplace where they can at least enjoy a bit of light and heat as it disappears up the chimney. Samuel Beckett described the creative process as “Fail again, Fail better”.  This little side table is a fail better. I wrote earlier about all the things I disliked about the first version that went up the chimney (except I salvaged the legs). Every design challenge doesn’t have to result in a masterpiece. It can be a success solely because we are moving forward from our past work. I have my own reasons for liking it better, but the biggest plus is that Barbie is happy with it.

George R. Walker

About walkerg

Woodworker and writer
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3 Responses to Salvaging a Design Failure

  1. Kinderhook88 says:

    I sacrificed more than a couple first pieces to the fire. It’s a tough decision that always feels a tiny bit like betrayal, though.

  2. David says:

    Visually it looks like the legs are splayed inwards to me. That might just be the camera perspective though. Which reminds me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask. Do you consider viewer perspective when designing a piece? For instance if a piece is in a very large room and you can view it from a far you get a view close to a flat drawing view. If you view the same piece in a very small room your perspective will be very different, you will always be looking down at the piece which can visually change the proportions. Does it help to make pieces slightly taller or less wide to accommodate perspective? I’ve read that this trick is used for large statues where the view will always be looking up at it.

  3. walkerg says:

    I do think its camera perspective that’s making the legs seem to splay inward. I do consider viewer perspective when working up a design. Starting with early sketches, I may draw it with the room setting in the background including things like nearby windows etc. During a mock up or actual build I do a lot of looking at a project from across the shop as well as close up. Have also learned that the perspective of a project sitting up at eye level on the workbench can give a false sense of how it will look. As to your comment about making a project taller or wider to accommodate perspective. I do try to consider how a piece relates to its surroundings in a room setting, but I’ve never thought much about how perspective might demand something else. Does anyone else consider that?

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