When Perfectionism Hinders Creativity

Or, “Hang It and They Will Come”

I’m a collector at heart, rescuing treasure wherever I can find it. My latest obsession started several months ago, when I found a pretty piece of vintage embroidery art at an estate sale. It sat on the floor against the wall in my office for a few months, because I wasn’t sure where to hang it.

perfectionism by voscamp

That’s happened to you, right? You’re not sure of the exact right place to hang a piece of art, so it sits – unhung – for months (or years!) – because you aren’t sure of the perfect place to put it. Do you realize that your PERFECTIONISM can be holding back your CREATIVITY???

Mine certainly did, for many years. Afraid to take chances (even LEAPS) for fear of not doing something perfectly perfect. Writing several blogposts a week for six years might cure you of that! Sometimes you just need to let go of perfection and just do it.

So back to the embroidery art (or needlepoint?) – I finally decided to hang it, even though I didn’t know what I was going to hang it with, above the sofa in the upstairs den. For about a month, it was a lonely piece of art above the sofa.

victorian sofa

But then, they came.

I mean MORE vintage embroidery art. I found one here and one there – a yard sale, an estate sale. The odd little animal on the left was $1. The beautiful storybook tudor on the right was $40.

vintage embroidery art

 

I continued to hang each new one I found. No, I didn’t wait for the “complete” collection before I put a nail in the wall. Sometimes I do, but sometimes that simply holds me back. You know what I found? You hang it, and they will come.

art groupings

 

You see, my friend Elizabeth gifted me yesterday with THIS:

embroidery art

 

I haven’t had time to hang it yet, but I promise I will do it THIS WEEK. Because my home is not about perfection, it’s about self-expression and creativity. It’s about what I love and want to have around me. Will everyone love it or want their house to look like mine? Certainly not. Do I care? Not as much as I used to. I care much more about creating a place that makes me smile when I walk through its rooms.

kristie barnett and elizabeth scruggs

Here I am with designer and fellow Expert Psychological Stager™ from nearby Lebanon, TN, Elizabeth Scruggs. She joined me yesterday at The Nashville Symphony ShowHouse here in Nashville. I have lots of decorating ideas trends to share from that, but I need to edit a couple hundred photographs first! Stay tuned . . .

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Cindy B
Cindy B
5 years ago

Yep, exactly why I have lived in my house for 3 years and not 1 picture on the wall!! Well, the kids rooms have stuff, but nothing in the common spaces and my bedroom. On the positive side, not so many nail holes to patch.. when mine goes on the market soon. I do love some “needleart”. I have a couple of pieces, never framed that I did when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I just turned 52! I will hang these in my next home!

Lisa
Lisa
5 years ago

Have you been spying on my family room? I have had a bunch of art leaning against the wall for over 2 years! Maybe this will give me the nudge to hang it up this weekend.

Jana Platina Phipps
5 years ago

This is such a powerful post Kristie and I thank you for the reminder. I will often say “progress not perfection” to get me off the dime. The important thing is to start…then all will flow. Great visuals and storytelling, your home is so soulful. xJana

Veronica Domurat
Veronica Domurat
5 years ago

progress not perfection!! words of wisdom 🙂

Kelly
5 years ago

First of all, I love Ann Voskamp, she is such an inspiration. I need this post as we finally painted our home and I haven’t hung a thing back on the walls! I am waiting for the perfect art and items. I use to work in the fine art field and am waiting for the perfect pieces and continue to sit in a home with empty walls waiting for perfection. I will put something up this weekend, even if it’s not the “perfect piece”! thank you!!!

Jo Galbraith
5 years ago

So true Kristie! Thanks for the inspiration!

Stacey Keeling
5 years ago

The collection is wonderful! I love that your own house doesn’t necessarily match all the neutral that’s going on out in the world. That makes me happy.

Yes, another perfectionist here. I have wood cut and letters to make a sign that I’ve wanted for awhile. Perfectionism or fear of making something that looks like junk often stops me. In the past year we have planked two walls…they are far from perfect but they sure do make me happy!!

Mary CC from CA
Mary CC from CA
5 years ago

Kristie, you have found the key to what makes most happy 😉 I agree, that is what life is all about. Being happy and content with who you are and having family and friends to share the journey with is most important. I always say I truly have all I want as long as I have a roof over my head and food on the table to share. Your lovely words are always an inspiration for me. This brought up old memories of way back when I used to embroider fabric as gifts for family and friends, back 30+ years… Read more »

kelly
5 years ago

Love your collection.-especially the little bird and the new picture from your friend. I agree- hang up what you love and not worry what others might think!

camilla mcbride
camilla mcbride
5 years ago

2 years is nothing. I have lived in my house for 13 years and no art. I have two niches in the hallway. No art. Just painted last November. Still no art hanging but lots though laying on the floor in a spare room.

Kendra Ray
Kendra Ray
5 years ago

Kristie, I love this blog post because, I fear the design world is coming to a place where TRUE DESIGN is being rooted out and being replaced with quick-fix, look-alike design! After I finished school, many moons ago, I knew that when I completed a job I wanted a home to reflect the person that lived within, but today I feel that people want their homes to look like something they have seen and are trying to replicate. I believe that when a good interior designer has done her/his job for a client, a guest can walk into that house… Read more »

Veronica Domurat
Veronica Domurat
5 years ago

What a beautiful post and sweet comments!! all positive stuff Kristie!! thanks and good job on everything else 🙂

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