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Reading Robin Hopper's biographical book "A Lifetime of Works, Ideas and Teachings" I came upon a page filled with "Ions of Creativity".

 

Robin writes: " They continue to start-jump my mind and lead me into the development of new ideas, or the redevelopment of old ones. At times when the brain seems constipated, one or the other of these words can usually be counted on as a purgative to stimulate a flow of thought".

 

Here are five of his 32 Ions: Observation / Desperation / Determination / Passion / Motivation

 

What are your "Ions of Creativity"?

 

Evelyne

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Nec fonte labra prolui caballino,

nec in bicipiti somniasse Parnasso

memini, ut repente sic poeta prodirem.

Heliconidasque pallidamqui Pirenen

illis remitto, quorum imagines lambunt

hederae sequaces:  ispe semipaganus

ad sacra vatum carmen adfero nostrum.

Quis expedivit psittaco suum 'chaere'

picamque docuit nostra verba conari?

Magister artis ingenique largitor

venter, negatas artifex sequi voces;

quod si dolosi spes refulgeat nummi,

corvos poetas et poetridas picas

cantare credas Pegaseium nectar.

 

I've not washed my lips at the pony's font, nor do I remember having slept on two headed Parnassus, so that I should pop forth a proper poet.  I leave the muses and bookish Pirene to those whose icons winding ivy licks.  I, as a half-initiate, bring my song to the rites of poets.  But who facilitates the parrot's "hello?"  Who teaches the magpie to try our words?  Master of arts, benefactor of talent, the stomach--skilled at bringing out unnatural skill.  For if the beguiling hope of money but glimmers, you'd think raven poets and magpie poetesses were singing pure Pegasean nectar.

 

 

Evelyne,

 

I couldnt' resist.  This poem by Persius is always in the back of my mind when I see discussions about creativity and artistic motivations.  Ironically, Persius was a very wealthy man.

 

-Tyler

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"To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan... believe... act!"...----... Alfred A. Montapert

 

I find there is whole  human endeavour in these few words…getting started…"I am, I can and I will"............

 

 

 

 

Vinks!

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Tyler: thank you very much for the poem. :)  And it IS cool that you share it with us, and it is also interesting because one has to read it twice or trice to get the meaning. Great contribution!

 

Paul: challanges in life are important!

 

Min: well, your ions aren't very poetic, but down to earth. But also struggle in life can get us inspired! ("Now how the h.. shall I pay the next mortgage payment"...)

 

Vinks: thank you for sharing Montapert's thoughts. Yes, visualization and believe are my ions too! If we don't believe that we can do what we wish to do, we have already lost! Isn't that so?!

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Ions being about negative & positive, gain & loss, those four characteristics kinda sum it up for me. All my creative thoughts, efforts, perspectives, experiences, products etc. are tense with the push-pull of pluses and minuses, without which I don't think my creative juices would flow at all. 

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I am with HBP. A lot of my best stuff comes from previous mistakes. I have a habit of when I screw up glazing I used to just wipe it all off and start over. Now I just say, hey lets see how that looks, and I write how I screwed up down. Some of my most favorite aesthetics have came from mishaps where I did some really funky stuff. 

 

In fact some of my most recent work has been because of that. I only imagine that's how most of the worlds random things came from silly mistakes or when your working on something bonk your head on the table and go as Gru says. "Light Bulb......."

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I have no Ions. My brain is too literal, so I can't "create", only copy.

Show me an example of a picture, photo, or piece of pottery and I'll use the image as a blue print and make one. Show me a bird house...I'll make a copy.

or a totum pole, provided I can get hold of a tree and chain saw. I can draw from photos or landscapes in pen and ink but I can't sit down and make it up. I have to see it first.

My late friend Linda would bring in pottery she wanted made. Once it was a

McCoy pottery vase. So as I made it she'd asked " Why are you doing that step now?". I'd answer, I don't know! I'm winging it! That became our catch phrase for a long time. :)

I don't have much abstract thinking that allows creativity. But I guess I do OK!

Some have one or the other and the lucky ones have both.

See ya,

Alabama

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Joel: it's always good to find your own Ions...

 

Lee: the push/pull of pluses and minuses... this is a great way of explaining what is propelling us forwards!

 

Joseph: would you then say that "making mistakes" can be Ions of creativity? As in: renovation? reflection? exploration? alteration? combination?

 

Alabama: I don't think you mean copy as in copy/paste? You surely would alter what you saw on photos or in books to make a piece of your OWN? You would observe and explore, visualize what you could do with what you saw on a photo for example, admire a totem pole or some other cult object and dedicate all your knowledge to the making of something similar, but not the same?

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Hey Evelyne,

Its very hard for me to be creative. My comfort zone is looking thru historic books on pottery and making exact copies from what I see. Style, form, size, decoration,

and glaze. Sometimes I get a break and the example is in black and white, which gives some room for error. If th vessel doesn't appear to be like the example,

its seldom finished, and is soaked back down,(even if it has been trimmed and the handle added.). Even when I step out of the box to make something new, I'll sketch what I'm fixing to make, then make it, according to the drawing. Generally,

I know what the finished pottery example will look like before its thrown, down to

the glaze.

 

Hope all is well with the wrist!

 

See ya,

Alabama

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Joseph: would you then say that "making mistakes" can be Ions of creativity? As in: renovation? reflection? exploration? alteration? combination?

 

I think so. At least for me. Some of my favorite glazes and pots have came from mistakes. I think the lack of perfection that we can't control is what makes ceramics so interesting to me. I at first wanted everything to be perfect and controlled. I thought it was like a science. The more I made stuff and tested, the more I realized that even if I make the perfect bucket of glaze. Over time that buckets chemistry changes, and the glaze comes out different. Glazes that I made a year ago, that I still use today look a lot different than they did when I first made them. I think this accidental view of creation from mistakes is what makes us awesome as humans. The fact that we can take a mistake, and turn it into a learning experience, then move on past it and use that mistake to discover other things is wonderful.

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I think it is most important to know oneself and what you need for a satisfying "go " at something. I experiment and explore on many levels. Often things don't do what I want or lead to a new path. For me, I need peace from distraction. My studio is my private space and sanctuary. I do also read a lot and explore the natural world. 

 

Marcia

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I have no Ions. My brain is too literal, so I can't "create", only copy.

Show me an example of a picture, photo, or piece of pottery and I'll use the image as a blue print and make one. Show me a bird house...I'll make a copy.

or a totum pole, provided I can get hold of a tree and chain saw. I can draw from photos or landscapes in pen and ink but I can't sit down and make it up. I have to see it first.

My late friend Linda would bring in pottery she wanted made. Once it was a

McCoy pottery vase. So as I made it she'd asked " Why are you doing that step now?". I'd answer, I don't know! I'm winging it! That became our catch phrase for a long time. :)

I don't have much abstract thinking that allows creativity. But I guess I do OK!

Some have one or the other and the lucky ones have both.

See ya,

Alabama

 

Alabama,

 

Don't underestimate your creativity.  One of the greatest literary minds in English, said this:

 

"I am quite content to go down to posterity as a scissors and paste man for that seems to me to be a harsh, but not unjust description."

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Here are all 32 Ions from Robin:

 

Observation, Inspiration, Exploration, Action, Memorization, Innovation, Alteration, Fascination, Imagination, Celebration, Concentration, Education, Visualization, Composition, Penetration, Determination, Perspiration, Motivation, Admiration, Impression, Expression, Reaction, Desperation, Renovation, Passion, Dedication, Obsession, Examination, Regurgitation, Reflection, Combination, Gestation

 

I was going to make an observation about letter patterns, but then I realized why he called them the Ions of Creativity.

 

From Robin's book: "For me, the line of attack is the constant need to explore my inner resources and produce new work that might be based on any number of variables. When I was much younger and beginning to find out who I might be as a ceramic artist, it use to worry me greatly that I had such diverse interests that were always in a state of flux. What I had been told is that "Real Artists" developed a recognizable style and stayed there. My work reflects my mind, cluttered and yet always searching for new essences! As a result, my clay work is usually a combination of several general areas that often cross over each other: ceramic process; ceramic technology; ceramic history; landscape; seascape; cloudscape and garden, flower and fruit forms; architecture; bird and animal images; theatrical and historical costume; and memory traces that might incorporate just about anything."

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Let me put an "outsider" view on this topic. My wife has three curio cabinets full of ceramic and glass "art" from Fenton, Dresden, and a small vase from the Ming Dynasty (family heirloom). In the midst of them is a malformed cup, with a disfigured handle with a very uneven coat of glaze. A gift from a 12 year old girl who made it in her first art class, and did the best she could to wrap it with birthday paper and a hand tied bow. ( still have the bow too). Of all the "art" in these displays; it still remains my favorite piece.

 

Glaze Nerd

 

Edit: if you do not love what you are making, then it is just a job. Marcia: "distraction" gets extra points as well.

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Hey Alabama: do you know why you are finding it so hard to be creative? Is it a lack of confidence? But: there is no need stepping out of your comfort zone IMO. Your objects are very beautiful. They are always unique, even if you were copy/pasting. Oh, thank you for asking, yes my hands are slowly healing. I think I can use the right one normally again in a few weeks time.

 

Glaze nerd: good one! I mean, who is telling us what is art and what is trivia?! Sometimes something that is done from the heart is more art than a piece from a famous artist.

 

Joseph: I like that you are thinking so positive! I am with you! We don't always have to name a mistake "a mistake". Learning curve would be all right also. As Marcia said in her post:  Often things don't do what I want or lead to a new path... and I especially like the new path!

 

Marcia: yes, experimentin and exploring as much as possible and then be open to new paths! Very well said.

 

Tyler: thanks for your encouragement to Alabama!

 

bciske: well thank you for writing down all 32 of Robins Ions and a clipping of his text. Isn't that an interesting book?! He says it's his biography. The part "What I had been told is that "Real Artists" developed a recognizable style and stayed there" could be a new QOTW topic! I heard the same, and a lot of jury members tell me, that they look for continuity in an artist...

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