One should never reject a defect. Defects are the result of human trial, attempts at beauty. If you look at handmade marbles from the Victorian era, the glass isn’t painted, it is coloured glass within glass. Swirls, flowers, nets – but often with mistakes. Handmade has flaws. That’s the beauty. The perfection is imperfection.
The later marbles from 1920 are machine made, and therefore without the unique essence – and, frankly, interest, of the earlier ones. That’s my first passion in collecting – defects.
To err is to be human: everyone has defects. But if you learn what your defects are, you can pause the manufacturing and repair – or, like the marbles, make defects into opportunities, or relish their being.
But glass also has the power to correct flaws. Are you short-sighted? Then you’ll be wearing glasses. Long-sighted? Glasses…
In his fascinating book, The Glass Bathyscaphe, author Alan MacFarlane describes how the intellectual life of many Europeans was cut short as they grew old and developed presbyopia, or long-sightedness. As people grew older they held a book further from their eyes to focus on the words, but how long they could do that for depended on the length of their arms, once they were unable to focus on anything nearer than arms length their reading life was effectively over. Corrective lenses meant that many of our greatest geniuses could continue to work for many more years.
The material I love most because of its potential for imperfection is also the thing that repairs my own flaws.