Sunday, May 11, 2008

Creative Process

I'm spending a great deal of time these days focused on the creative process. As I (re)immerse myself in the creativity literature, I'm (re)minded of the passion I felt while I was studying in my doctoral program. The creative process -- individual, group, and organization -- has (re)emerged for me as I begin to prepare for the journey into retirement. So, I'll use this blog from time to time to discussion of the creative process. So, here is one activity that is helpful for people who don't think they are creative.

Describe a time when you were creative, when you brought something new into the world, something that didn’t exist before.

I’ll use an original piece of art as my example.

The idea can come from anywhere. Women Gathering is a theme that emerges for me, connecting my social/political belief that if women gathered, they would be able to solve many of the problems that exist in our world. Peace is also a theme that resonates with me; as an anti-war believer, peace, peacefulness, peace-making are alternative responses.

Influenced by Maya Angelou’s poem, Amazing Peace, I imagined women from around the world gathering to read the poem. The women are represented by colorful fabric and paper, cut in triangle shapes (delta, the symbol of change). Fabric, beaded cones represent ceremonial headdress for this important gathering. I saw these women gathered around a fire pit; in other imaginary scenes, they stand at a body of water. Heavily textured and painted paper with sand and eggshells and beads became the medium to represent a fire pit and surrounding area. The talking stick represents the dialogue process. Selections from the poem are printed and glued around the rim. Voila! An abstract that tells my story.

Describe your process and the feelings at the various stages of creation.

Excitement at the idea generation stage, high level of energy. The preparation stage also was high energy and excitement. The incubation stage was also fun -- lots of sketches and thoughts without any actualy work being done on the piece. With the implementation stage came diminishing excitement. Frustration took over – how do I do it? Why isn’t this coming out the way I see it? Portions of the implementation stage were fun, like learning how to make the beads. Anything that involves learning a new technique – research, try, do – is fun and exciting for me. Fear is also present – what if it’s ugly? What if I can’t do it? The critic is very present towards the end of the project. With this piece, when I attached the talking stick, the final element, I felt relief and joy. I could see my story.

Then sharing brought fear, anxiousness, only minor fun and joy. I shared it as my final project for a collage/mixed media class. Everyone else’s was so great! Why didn’t I think of that? However the feedback was wonderful – they loved it. They got it. Some sort of look at it and say, "That's pretty. What is it?" When I begin to tell the story, some "get it" while others sort of wander away ...

So, how do I feel about the piece today? I see technical things I’d do differently. But I love it because it is truly an original piece that represents my story.

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