Most creativity is accidental, if not all of it. The artist often sits before their canvas with a plan, only to discover things come out much differently than they expected. Musicians can find themselves bored with their playing until they make a mistake, hit the wrong note, and suddenly everything is fresh, and they can find a whole new direction for the song.
Of course, some mistakes are more interesting than others. Hitting the wrong note is usually more interesting than flubbing entirely and tripping over your guitar cord. A table that cracks in half after a month is not the kind of mistake anyone likes. But little, aesthetic mistakes that don’t compromise the integrity or flow of the artwork, be it song or table, can inspire. Here’s some of our favorite, inspirational mistakes.
This table was originally meant for McGuire Furniture. However, the leaf was very old and dry, and exploded into dozens of pieces when we cast it. It didn’t work as a McGuire table, but it was a fun new look for the Heracleum leaf, a kind of fractured look we’d like to do more of. It shows the decay of nature, not the pristine, fresh look of many of our leaves. That clean look is satisfying, but it’s nice to see the messier side of nature in our work too.
This next “mistake” is pretty exciting. In fact, it’s something of an origin story! Pamela was casting plaster tiles for our house, when a redwood leaf fell into one of the molds. The result was intriguing. Pamela experimented with intentionally impressing leaves into some of the other tiles. By no means are leaf impressions a revolutionary concept, being one of the first skills ones learns in lithography, but still, the redwood leaf sparked something in Pamela that might not have formed without it. Our entire aesthetic may have been completely different if not for that one falling leaf.
Finally, we ought to point out that every table has its variations, which we neither intend nor regret. In many ways, this is concrete’s best aesthetic feature over other common materials. The table in particular ended up with some incredible patterns, a mix of grey and yellow we admittedly scratch our head over. We couldn’t copy this if we tried. That is one of the unfortunate aspects of accidental art — sometimes it can be hard to replicate.