Artist Statement:

I have always been a busybody who loves to work with their hands, so when COVID struck in March of 2020, I felt a little lost. I began to take up woodworking at the suggestion of my grandpa. Originally, my sister and I came up with the idea of a wooden sound wave sculpture to honor my brother. Throughout our childhood, our accomplishments plastered the refrigerator, walls, and picture frames, but due to my brother having Down syndrome, he often doesn’t have those same diplomas or certificates. So, we recorded him saying his favorite word of “bye-bye-bye” and turned it into a beautiful piece of art that now hangs in our family room!

Woodin family sculpture

So, for this project, I decided to finally encapsulate my voice saying one of my favorite quotes, “Be present, not perfect.” I originally heard this quote in a Ted Talk presented by Elaine Meyer. I found the quote to be so beautifully simple. We can’t be expected to perfect all the time, but we can be expected to be present in that moment.

None of the pieces of wood used in the sculpture are perfect. They all have imperfections such as checking, bowing, crooking, and knots, and they come from a wide array of trees, such as pine, cherry oak, cyprus, basswood, etc. But those imperfections and variety are what make the wood beautiful. And present.

Carly Woodin, University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, Class of 2022

Be Present, Not Perfect

soundwave sculpture