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The Beauty of Asymmetry

Asymmetry (Via NotZolddLab.)

Beauty resides in the asymmetrical, the not-quite-matching-up-ness of things, the unexpected, the quirk. Think of the crack in the vase that accentuates the beauty around it. Symmetry can be beautiful in its evenness, but too much of it becomes stasis. Sameness. Predictability. Beauty lies in surprising contrasts.

Instead of viewing asymmetry as a flaw, entertain it as possibility, as an opening. When things don’t match up perfectly there is a friction – the extra screw after you have assembled the Ikea shelving. It drives you crazy, but then again, it gets your attention. It makes you look more closely because there is a role for you – something you need to do – a way to involve yourself. A grain of sand inside an oyster can create a pearl. The displaced thing, the flaw, produces beauty. In our best moments, we can recognize that our flaws and asymmetries can sometimes be our assets. Without asymmetry there is nothing to negotiate, no space of possibility – nothing to work on or to address.

Someone asked me once why I chose to create drawings on ordinary white paper instead of beautiful handmade rice paper. The reason was that the rice paper was already finished as far as I was concerned. It was so perfect and symmetrical that the only interaction with the paper that seemed appropriate to me was admiration. There was nothing further that I wanted to do with it. What do you do with perfect symmetry?

What is that part of you that you view as a flaw?
How can you begin to see it as an opportunity to create beauty in a way that is uniquely yours?

Susanna Harwood Rubin

Author Susanna Harwood Rubin

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