Love is in the Details


I’m back from Paris and I have so much to tell you about the trip, I don’t even know where to begin!

I think I will tackle my revelations topic by topic in several posts and that they will hopefully inspire you!

In Paris, I was struck by the overwhelming sense of detail that is present everywhere in this city. I have been to so many bustling metropolitan cities and this one just feels different. There is a deep sense of preservation that threads into the daily life of Parisians that I am sure can be painstaking when trying to accomplish certain modern tasks but it gives me pause as I wrestle with the fast lane type of art and creativity that we see happening with alarming regularity.

I was struck be the fine craftsmanship and artistic detail in everything from the dressmaking details shown in the 1950’s haute couture exhibit at the Palais Galleria, to the ornate Paris Opera House, to the flooring in St. Chapelle, it was present in  everyplace we visited.  Details, care, love and craftsmanship and yes, I am sure a dose of ego in the masters who created it. At some level, it seems fair though, masterful work deserves to make someone proud. 

All of these lush details took time. The architecture, the iron work, nothing looked or felt hurried or rushed.

In our fast society today, it seems we have put value on speed and the ability to be prolific more than we do artisanship. Computers speed us up, smart phones speed us up, we can communicate ideas so rapidly now. You can’t help but ask if, in this impressive to communicate, we have not lost something in translation.

I don’t know about you, but when I sink deep into inspiration and try to do creative problem solving, a voice inside my head whispers, “Don’t spend too much time on this, it may not be worth it…” Whether that takes on the form of me convincing myself that people won’t want to pay for slow artisan work or that my idea might become “old” by the time I execute the finished result, this voice often convinces me into watering down the original inspiration or to get distracted by another less complicated idea.

What if I quieted that voice and told it,

“Love is in the details. I want to create thoughtful work. I want to sleep on it, rest in it, recreate it until I am truly satisfied.”

What if being your very best was more important that being fast and prolific?

What if creating 3 remarkable pieces was more important than creating 300 mediocre ones?

As I return with my heart and mind full of ideas, I will have to remind myself that being slow doesn’t mean that I am not keeping up. I will have to remind myself that love is in the details in the most unexpected ways, the floors, the ceilings, the embroidery, and that it is okay to sink into those slow details.

What about you? When was the last time you embraced slow creativity?


Diorexhibit   stchapelle_floor


  • BJ Lantz says:

    I so get this (and we did discuss this somewhat while wandering around all the lovely spaces). I believe those of us who have made our living from “commercial” art throughout our careers (and licensing can certainly be counted in that category) often feel that hand in the middle of our backs, pushing us to “keep up”. And, while I am completely on board for slowing down, taking time for creative exploration, it is important not to then get caught up in making it too precious, fussing over it *too* much. Ah, oui, it is a delicate balance and one worth pursuing 🙂

    • Monica Lee says:

      This trip made me want to slow way down and appreciate good work but at the same time…I feel like Ihave so much in me-I want to rush and get it all out!

  • Kat McDonough says:

    I do believe you must follow your heart. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a product that isn’t you, isn’t original and will fall flat. Heartfelt, detailed craftsmanship always trumps “gotta go with the trends” every day of the week. For quieting that voice, check out the book “War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. He calls that voice that resistance, and describes how it’s trying to stop you before you fail. But you have to be willing to fail, on your terms. Good Luck!

  • Feda Eid says:

    Enjoyed this, thanks for sharing. I'm definitely one of those slower workers that appreciate the details, love and personal expression in art. It is a difficult balance but I always choose quality over quantity but there are times when just creating quickly and getting it out there helps you keep a momentum of doing that is is good for my psych.

  • You know-I think you are right about that…I will take it into consideration!!

  • I love this post, Monica. The photos punctuate your point perfectly. It is an artistic sensory experience to visit the web sites of Hermes, Cartier, Chanel, just to name a few and see how much history there is in the craftsmanship.

  • Laurie Nelson says:

    Monica thank you for this post!! The art I do takes considerable time and I do feel that people don't want to pay for that time when they can find art for less and don't understand why a creative piece would take so long. I do find myself wondering if I should create in a faster mode. That is not me though so I create what I love and get peacefully lost in the process. Love the beautiful pictures you are sharing of true creativity and craftsmanship!

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