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rakukuku

What To Do To Stimulate Creativity?

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So here's a question. What do you do, if anything, to stimulate creativity? An excellent artist told me he has a monthly "creativity" group with a group of other creative types who get together monthly and share ideas.  For awhile, at my studio we had little friday afternoon "salons"  where a few of us gathered, drank wine, chatted and supposedly talked about art ideas (though it usually degenerated into gossip and silliness).

 

Yeah we are all always on the "look out" for ideas and inspiration but I was wondering if anyone sets aside time and formalizes this process. It seems like I see things and think of things all the time but it all flies out the window when i sit down with raw clay and go "now what"?.   I am thinking I need to start a creativity journal and jot down ideals as well as sketches.  

 

How does everyone address this?     rakuku

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I have a little journal sketchbook I take with me everywhere. I constantly write down ideas, even if I never go back and visit them they are still there for the future! maybe one day! 

 

Usually I look around for inspiration on the internet. Just browsing through random pots and stuff, usually I do this after I come in from throwing/glazing etc so that I can sit down and relax after all the work. I also like to look at artwork on the internet, mostly abstract paintings that are just no real object but brushstrokes and randomness. Sometimes they can be so beautiful.

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I take pictures of pottery and other things with my cell phone that I come across in daily travels. I'm mostly inspired by patterns and textures I might be able to incorporate into my pottery. Recent inspirations included material patterns on restaurant chairs, a carpet, a very large outdoor planter and a cutout room divider. I'll also make a photographic note of a pottery shape that I've never done before so I don't forget to try making something similar someday.

 

Paul

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Only medical creativity stimulation.

 

Please elaborate.

 

In all seriousness, I think many of us have no idea where our ideas come from.  I don't, not really.  I surmise that it's all a kind of synthesis, in which we take various elements that are meaningful to us, mix them together, boil them down, float them up... and something just comes out of the cloud. 

 

I can think of a recent example from my own work.  As I mentioned in another thread, I've been making porcelain pipes.  A month or so back I was in Burlington VT, and went to a gallery devoted to glass pipes (consigned them some of my pipes.)  I got a lot of helpful advice on how to make my stuff better, including an opinion that folks wouldn't pay for very fancy pipes unless they were water pipes.  Many years ago I made a lot of pipes, and had worked out a way to make a one-piece water pipe that did not depend on a fitted removable downstem.  (It involves thrown components combined and assembled.)  When we got back from the North Country, I made a number of effigy pipes, as well as simple fluted barrel pipes using this bubbler system, and I found that I liked the tall slender pipes quite a lot.  They had a very satisfying tactile quality and balance in the hand.

 

Then the other day I was walking in a nearby park and saw a heron posing beside the little stream that runs along the path.  It struck me that the shape of that bird was like an exaggerated version of a tall slender pipe with an ovoid body and skinny pedestal.  On another day, I was remembering the old pottery near Tuscaloosa where I bought the stoneware I used for the first few years of my career.  They no longer glazed anything, but once a week a potter came in and threw a half-ton or so of what he called "Rebecca pitchers," to be bisqued and sold as garden ornaments.  This was a very stylized form, about 3 feet tall, thrown in one piece in a virtuoso display, remarkable to watch.

 

Then I got out the sketchbook and drew up the pipe I was designing in this haphazard manner.  I used a body like the Rebecca pitcher, a hollow foot like a goblet, a longish stem, and a tall bowl that I made into a bird effigy by adding a beak and eyes.   Today I made the first three pieces like that, and I'm very pleased with the way they've turned out.  They have a very shorebird-esque quality, and represent the direction I'm going with my effigy pipes, in which just a suggestive detail or two is used to define the imagery, leaving them to be identifiably wheel thrown and handmade pots, rather than representational sculpture.

 

If they survive the kiln, I'll post pics to the gallery.

Marcia Selsor likes this

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Creativity is one of those things that art teachers are expected to teach in their classes, all too often the expectations fall short, and the times it seems like it happens, is the luck of the draw. You try a series of exercises for searching for shapes, exercises to enhance color intuitiveness, or even differences in pattern and texture in a single piece. Many times you end up teaching the student usable tricks, like looking through a window at a page full of random doodles to find shapes, when you get one really nice, is it that you have taught creativity, or taught them by a law of averages a way of looking for shapes that finally worked. Maybe only once! I could go on and on, but in the long run, there are those of us that muddle our way through piece after piece constantly working, growing, looking, learning, striving to be creative. In the long run, it may be again just a series of numbers with one piece or two rising to the top. I don't know. Can you teach someone to be intuitive? Knowing what comes at the next corner, before it comes?  These things have been argued over the centuries. Great minds and artists, Einstein, Picasso, Socrates, and others have bandied these ideas about, but maybe it is as simple as Chuck Close who said. . . .Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up for work.

Chris Campbell and Wendybyrd like this

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For me I initially started from a functional approach.   For starters I'm an aquarium buff that enjoys breeding tropical fish.  One of the things needed for many fish are breeding tubes and or breeding caves.  Most of the ones commercially available are fairly drab looking so I wanted to do something more decorative.  I pulled ideas from many decorative pieces that I had seen and then modified them for my functional use.  This is now slowly expanding to aquarium planters as well as other decorative pieces that have hidden functionality.     

GiselleNo5 and rayaldridge like this

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Combination of life experience and sensations (incl. those old mood/mind altering adventures--really helpful!) and lottsa note-taking, sketching, cruising sites/artists' stuff/writings, & quick recorded thoughts on the cell phone, Creativity isn't the problem for me, execution to the tangible is.  

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Like Pres says, teachers are suppose to teach it. That's tough. BUT I heard an NPR interview with the head of a big corporation like RCA or something. It said they encourage people with art backgrounds because artists make something from nothing. They supported teaching art in schools. I think solitude helps to focus your thoughts.

 

Journals, some books, sketchpads may help records thoughts when a creative idea happens.

here are a few recommended books:

Art and Fear

The view from the Studio door

The Artist's Way

 

Marcia

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Interesting thoughts. Thanks for the book references.  Will check them out.

 

what I was wondering is how much everyone associates with other artists to explore creativity.  I am lucky to work in a group studio with other people making cool stuff all the time.  How much is this a solo journey and how much do we have fellow travelers?  Guess ultimately is always solo.  Yikes, better got more coffee. Too much navel contemplating for one day.    rakuku

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I've had an "idea" journal for years.  Written descriptions, sketches, downloads of photographs taped in.   It covers all aspects of my business.   Looking at an idea written down .... "Horseshoe pit by retail area" ... I hope to get this done by fall.   I have several glazes, using black clay, extruded trims, leaf shaped spoon rests, ... pages of ideas.

 

So many ideas ... so little time.

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I've had an "idea" journal for years.  Written descriptions, sketches, downloads of photographs taped in.   It covers all aspects of my business.   Looking at an idea written down .... "Horseshoe pit by retail area" ... I hope to get this done by fall.   I have several glazes, using black clay, extruded trims, leaf shaped spoon rests, ... pages of ideas.

 

So many ideas ... so little time.

I completely agree, so many thngs I want to create but there just isn't enough time to do it all. I make lists. A list for things I want to make to sell, a list for things I want to make to improve the way I work, lists of things I have made but need to tweak to get correct, etc.

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I have to agree with so many of the thoughts here. I love the Chuck Close quote. I save tons of photos from the internet. Over the years I have added and deleted. So what remains is a catalogue of ideas that represent a style I wish to emulate.

 

Marci, you ever know someone who couldn't stand to be alone or not doing something? I taught my kids how to focus and study. It was hard. Now teenagers they know how, and that they can, learn anything.

 

I always feel life is to short and I will never get to make all the pots I have in my head.

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You are wise beyond your years! Yes, life is short and fragile. You have to go for it!

I am alone a lot. I like working alone but I require myself to do residencies every so

often so I can work with other artists in a creative environment. Sometimes the residencies have been sole me working but in a different environment from my safe studio. Challenges are good for forcing you out of your own box.

 

Marcia

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Rae, that one was dipped.

 

I do some overspraying to get complexity of surface, but that is a single glaze.  I also prefer to spray slips, because that way I get a soft edge between them.

 

Here's a closeup of a surface that has a lavender slip under a white titania glaze oversprayed with a blue ash glaze.

post-65900-0-14979600-1440285461_thumb.jpg

Rae Reich, Sallyd and jolieo like this

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