For the 26 years I maintained my design firm in California, perfection was easy to define and essential to achieve. My clients entrusted me to make sure the reveal (space) between cabinet doors was consistent, that fabric patterns matched on upholstery, that curtains hung 1/8” off the floor. This process was not subjective, nor did it allow for personal interpretation. But my new life offers me opportunities, on an almost daily basis, to re-create my experience of perfection and play with its ever-changing appearance.
Taos is like a mix of the Wild Wild West and Shangri-La. A flawed paradise, for sure, and it’s my relationship with these flaws that has helped me fall in love not only with this town, but with my own growing resiliency and creativity. Our remote location, and small populace, don’t provide for big shopping malls. Walmart is our only big-box store, really one of the few chain stores we have at all. For the many years I lived in California, I could easily and immediately find anything I needed. Living in Taos requires a different mind-set entirely.
This reflective process usually runs thusly….can I get this (whatever I need/want) in Taos? Can I find it at a thrift shop? Can I find it at Walmart? Can I barter for it? Can I make it? Do I already have it or something like it? And finally, do I really need this thing?
For most of us, the speedy journey between seeing/wanting/buying leaves no room for discovery of who we are. It simply represents a factual shift : one moment you did not have this thing, and now you do. But if we admit to most things being symbols of who we are, think we are, or want to be, then the potential for discovery is lost.
In the year and a half I have lived in Taos, I’ve learned how to use a drill, how to wire my own lamps, how to cover a lampshade with fabric (see photos), and how to chop firewood. And while a clearly defined and measurable criteria for perfection will always have its place in the business world, I believe it’s the subjective and fluid aspects of perfection that inform who we are and ultimately empowers us.