A Long Look in the Mirror

John’s latest project is a mirror.  Well, it is two bathroom mirrors.  They’re beautiful. 

However, like most things, they made me think.  As a woman with blue hair, my definition of beauty may not fall within the confines of “normal.”  With a craftsman for a husband, and as an artist myself, I look at things in a way that really pursues the beauty.  I want to seek it out and showcase it. 

Looking at these mirrors made me think about how I look at myself.  Because, unlike everything else I see, I don’t always look for the beauty, but I am trying to learn to.

Mirrors, specifically those in the bathroom, are made to find flaws.  There are even ultra-magnifying mirrors for women to locate every odd hair and every blemish on our face to be covered. We inspect, rather than enjoy.  We criticize, rather than celebrate.  We hide, rather than showcase. 

For me, that is part of why I dyed my hair blue (being self-employed, I have the freedom to do those sorts of things).  Having something so prominent stand out in a way that is meant to be visually “pretty” but not conventionally attractive is part of an effort to train myself to see my own reflection for the beauty it has to offer rather than the things it lacks or “should be.”

I’ve started having fun with my reflection.  I wear a flower in my hair, almost always, because it is pretty.  I wear makeup more often, because I believe it actually is worth it.  However, I wear less of it and I wear brighter colors, because I am not wearing it to hide but rather to celebrate. 

Not only am I an artist, but I am also a doula, and in that field I work to reflect to a woman the strength and beauty she holds within herself.  I’ve realized this isn’t something I can do without first embracing those things within myself.  To these women, I act a lot like a mirror, but the way it is framed is important.

The mirrors John made are lovely.  They are custom finished to compliment a bathroom project just completed.  While the wood is new, it is made to look irregular and distressed.  The finishing techniques are finely executed, made to look as though the mirror is floating off the wall, while remaining firmly mounted to it.  And, while there are 5 coats of finish on it, to protect the wood the moisture it will encounter in a bathroom, John used the dust from the creation of the mirror to create a matte and unfinished look. 

The mirrors are intentionally imperfect, and designed to be as such.  Because, imperfection is beautiful.  I hope that those who look in them can see that, and carry a little of that message with themselves.