Embracing Imperfection: The Power of Patchwork

Connie De Jong Africa apron boutique celebration color courage Cultural Identity culture Fair Trade Ghana good humor gratitude handcrafts handmade identity purpose World Peaces

As we slowly return to more public engagement, I see some of us feeling over-exposed and vulnerable in ways we would not have expected prior to pandemic life. I think one strategy to calming that anxiety may be in embracing life’s imperfections.

During the pandemic, I opened World Peaces' retail shop in Clintonville, just around the corner from Global Gallery Coffee Shop, in preparation for these days of returning to meeting in person. While the shop is not packed with customers most of the time, I appreciate the time I get to have with people to have a conversation and to have a little slower pace than I expect in the coming days. Today already I got to enjoy time with Nelson who found a raffia table runner for his developing office, and we discussed identity politics, the teachings we have found in family and travel, and a smattering of other thoughts. I also chatted with Sue about perfectionism, as she had Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection,” and she read me a quote from the book about how perfectionism is not about doing our best, but about trying to avoid judgement and shame. Thanks to both Nelson and Sue for connecting with me.

 I sometimes refer to myself as a recovering perfectionist, but I’m in a stage now that is more focused on actively creating imperfectly: collaboratively designing imperfect products, running an imperfect business, offering imperfect service. I think there may be more joy in the imperfect, and reclaiming my joy is the space I find myself in now. Thank you for accompanying me, and all the amazing artists I work with, in this process.

 The products I am most excited about this year are made of patchwork fabrics, re-stitched Ankara wax print pieces from Ghana reclaimed from tailoring. The colors are bright, the patterns are diverse, the pieces are all different shapes and sizes. They represent all of us. As we restitch them, we create a metaphor for the ways that we can imagine healing our separations, our inequalities, our judgements. We can come together, different than we were before, made whole by connecting.

 The Riverview Sewing Group, formed by a group of immigrants here in Columbus, Ohio, who come together to sew and connect with one another, have embraced these fabrics and begun sewing them into aprons, potholders, and microwave koozies. The group engages with people from Africa, Asia and Latin America, so their collective spirit really resonates with me, and with the intentions and purpose of World Peaces. For me, Fair Trade has always been about connecting with people through creativity, primarily in developing countries, but wherever we find ourselves in need of development. I think these geographies are less about country borders and more about the places and people that have borne the brunt of the world’s judgement and neglect. Connecting with these people can make your heart sing, and those connections offer hope for creating a better world.

The patchwork products feel quintessential to our core mission, and using them feels joyful. We have a lovely selection of them in the store, online and are imagining new and interesting useful and joyful products from patchwork fabrics. We hope you love them.

Also find us at the Moonlight Markets (first one is Sat April 9, 5-10pm!) and Sunlight Markets, as well as Pearl Alley Farmer’s Market, and visit the shop when you return to the Clintonville Farmer’s Market starting April 30. We are excited about being back at events, and have more coming, so follow us for updates. Stay tuned for stories about how we are putting our joy to simmer in the kitchen. These patchwork products are being put to use!

 



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