24 Jan '17 — Perfectly Imperfect: 'as is' is more than enough
My chest felt a fluttery excitement the first time I came across Jenny Ombler on Instagram. It's hard to pinpoint why, but Jenny's images capture a sense of natural beauty that is whole. The mix of images, from plants to handmade artisanal works interjected with iconic imagery, come together to suggest that the world is more than perfect as is, especially with speckles of imperfection.
Jenny's photos are taken in familiar spaces, whether they're house plants or flowers in the garden. Nothing too far from the world I live in, yet, they're framed in perspectives I hardly see. I'm reminded that I have access to a similar world in front of me, but I don't have the habit, and perhaps lack the skill, of observing the world in this way.
Amongst the artisanal works within the gallery are Jenny's own.
"I've never trained in a creative field, except that I majored in Art History at university. As a child, I was always very creative. Now, I find that I must have a way of expressing myself with my hands to feel happy. I felt disillusioned by art classes in high school, and lost confidence in my ability to be 'successfully' creative, so am loving rediscovering my creative self now."
I was surprised to discover that Jenny is a novice, especially since I assumed she made pottery and weavings for a living. The way she uses a wide variety of images to convey a clear theme--that's something I've only seen skillful experts do. Beyond these creative works, I found the running theme of wholeness, the world is perfectly imperfect, in her observations of life:
"I overheard a couple of people at pottery the other day, talking about how when they first started learning, they kept everything they made because they were so proud to just have made something. As they progressed, they became far more fussy. That in a way can be less fun."
"The couple was talking about this just as I took something off the wheel. It just wasn't working. Back when I first started learning, I would have thought that what I had turned (a very uneven bowl), was great, just because it was a shape at all. Even though I felt frustrated that it hadn't turned out as I wanted, I did feel pleased that becoming more fussy and critical of my work was a reflection on my progress, which at times can feel unbearably slow."
The presence of anything less than perfect, whether frustration or uneven specks on a bowl, is welcomed. I'm inspired by Jenny's philosophy: everything 'as is' is beyond better than where it 'needs' to be.
Enjoy Jenny's full gallery @jennyombler.