Saturday, December 6, 2008

processing some thoughts on 'product'

For the past week or so, I’ve been watching my students give presentations on their “passions” in life. For many, their passions involve something creative. In particular, one student talked about his passion for blacksmithing. On further questioning, it turns out that he owns a forge, but does not have formal training in blacksmithing, has never had classes, isn’t concerned with safety or form or anything one might expect to be a part of blacksmith training. He just likes to get outside and light fires and bang metal into interesting shapes. He made a dagger the other day, he says, basically by melting a piece of rebar and banging it into a shape resembling some sort of lethal object. He is all about the process of creating something, a process which lets him get out energy and aggression and all sorts of stuff that he is forced to hold inside during the school day and inside his house. At the end of the day, he can just melt his metal down and be ready to start again the next time the mood strikes him.

I’ve been working on some projects lately that have made me focus on the product, and the process has been something that I’ve had to rush and pinch back and otherwise force into uncomfortably small amounts of time in order to meet my deadlines. I haven’t had a day when I could just go out and bang my figurative metal into interesting shapes for a while, and I think I’m going to make that the focus of my post-holiday break. It seems like when I take the time to just play around with things, that’s where inspiration, and imagination and creativity just let loose---and often trickle into all the other parts of my life. I’m thinking of playing with some sculptures in snow and ice, something temporary, something where I can play all day with form, then come inside for a hot cuppa and think about nothing in particular but how interesting the morning has been…and just see where that takes me…

In the meantime, here's some interesting inspiration from british sculptor Andy Goldsworthy

Image: "Reconstructed Icicle"

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