Hash tags are everywhere, but I love the gem of a creative association from this graphic. It made me giggle so I thought I would share it with the rest of you creative souls seeking to find the original idea in your everyday world.
I found it on The Facebook Symphony Orchestra page. The whole page is filled with a great sense of modern humor around the subject of classical music. The question the page admin asked with this particular post was:
What do YOU think Beethoven would tweet if he were alive today? #getcreative
This was my favorite answer.
For one thing, Beethoven wouldn’t restrict himself to sharp keys. ♭whatswiththishashtagobsessionanyway
From the peacock theme to the intricacy of the mosaic design, I LOVE this piece! Beth described her process for making the varied tiles on her blog: such a labor of love. Read more about Beth’s entry: http://createmyworlddesigns.blogspot.com/2013/05/going-to-pieces.html
I also wanted to thank everyone who voted. My crazy quilt mosaic switch plate tied for third place in the public voting!
Each time I create a new piece, I feel a motherly attachment to it. I feel joy and pride at having brought it into the world. Yet like every mom who wants to see her child be everything she can be, I need to take off my rose-colored glasses to view my art where it is in its development path. My work is an infant crying for some nurturing so it can grow to be amazing.
This is a “Gothic Rabbit” sculpture that I created last year and I feel such a connection to her. She is one of my first 3-d sculpts. Yet from the moment of her “birth,” I felt she was unfinished. She lacked that spark of life. I couldn’t really put my finger on the problem. Of course, there is the obvious limitations in my sculpting ability, but I think that the key to “life” in art lies in something deeper than technical proficiency.
This week, I started working through the free course “Ways to Wow” on Voila. It is 6-month exploration of emotion in art that seems tailored to polymer jewelry artists, yet because the course isn’t about techniques, it seems applicable to a broad range of interests. I’ve never done one of Christine DuMont’s courses so I’m not sure what to expect, but the topic seems to fit where I am in exploring my artistic voice and so far it really has my mind hungrily working through he first pre-work assignments.
I chose the “Gothic Rabbit” as my baseline work to start the course, although I am equally excited to use the knowledge on my non-figural pieces. Even though we are only in the first week, I’ve already had some self-reflective “ah-ha” moments. I realized that I never had emotion in mind when I created the rabbit. I created the Gothic-style, polymer-covered chicken egg first ,and in my minds eye, I saw a medieval princess holding the egg so I created the rabbit princess around the egg.
I love the flow of her dress, the tiny details of the lacing on her bodice, and the abstract chain-mail link pattern on the egg. What she is missing is an emotion. I never considered her back story or what she was feeling in the transient moment that I immortalized in clay.
- Did someone just surprise her with the egg as a gift?
- Did she just discover the egg and is in awe of its very existence?
- Does she feel a magical power emanating from the egg?
- Was everyone in her village just slaughtered and she is a sole survivor clutching one last cherished belonging?
- Is she about to lose the egg to her wicked stepmother?
Depending on the specific emotion/story, I would make different design choices. Image how differently each of these scenarios would be portrayed. In each case her hands would grip the egg differently. Her head might tilt. Her eyes would be different. The colors may even be totally different. Such cool possibilities!
I can’t wait to start Week 2 on Sunday! You can still jump in if you’d like. You don’t even need to register if you aren’t interested in participating in the forum discussions. http://www.voila.eu.com/
Zombies + Food Pyramid = Creativity Booster
Yes, it’s true. Zombies and the our own USDA Food Pyramid hold the key to unlocking your creativity.
I don’t know who had the original idea for a Zombie Food Pyramid, but in my mind it happened something like this. Some guy was helping his kids with their homework assignment. They spent the early part of the evening cutting out pictures of vegetables from old magazines and gluing them onto a construction paper pyramid. After the kids went to bed, he settled into his recliner for a nice relaxing episode of The Walking Dead. Not long into the episode, a hungry zombie ripped into the first idiot who wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings. The dad diverted his gaze, ever so briefly, from the gory meal and his eyes landed on the food pyramid drying on the coffee table. And an idea was born.
I read A LOT of books and articles around the subject of creativity and innovation. This week I pulled out my copy of Seeds of Innovation by Elaine Dundon that I received a few years back when I attended a training while working at Penn State. It is a wonderfully approach to nurturing innovation in your organization.
The Creative Mash-Up
One of the methods recommended in the book to kickstart the innovation process is exploring unrelated items to see where the new combination can take you. Seeds certainly isn’t the first place I’ve seen this idea, but it brought it back to the front of my brain.
That’s why when I opened the kitchen cabinet this morning to grab a coffee cup, my hand hovered over one that I bought my husband for Christmas: the zombie food pyramid. It is such a perfect example of the creative mash-up in action.
Editor’s Note: Okay so this homework story is probably total fiction, but it illustrates how our mind can connect to unrelated things to help us create something new. Great ideas are just waiting in our subconscious. We just need to slow down and consider the connections.
You also may have heard that the food pyramid has been replaced with a new “food plate” so kids nowadays are probably gluing pictures onto paper plates, but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂
In a period of procrastination, I stumbled upon a Pinterest board of vintage quilt samples. I haven’t quilted in years, yet I couldn’t help but be drawn to the possibilities in these incredible samples. To be fair I didn’t see quilt possibilities—I saw possibilities in polymer. More specifically, I saw polymer mosaics.
I’d had “mosaics on the brain” for a couple of months because that is the one of the themes in the Polymer Artists Guild of Etsy monthly challenge. I thought it would be a relatively easy theme to generate ideas around, yet it was proving to be much harder than I had thought. I had sketched some strict (i.e. boring) geometric patterns on a sheet of graph paper, but the ideas never seemed to be worth progressing from paper to polymer.
The Eureka moment didn’t hit me until I saw those quilt samples. Looking at the images took me back to the fourth grade, learning to quilt with my Great-grandma. Her wrinkly plump fingers were surprisingly nimble. They were steady too as she held my shaky hand in hers, guiding the needle to create the perfectly spaced, decorative stitches that held together the fabric and batting layers of a quilt.
I had an aptitude for the detail work of hand-stitching, but in terms of designing the patterns, my quilts were more of a hodge-podge. They were either random bits of mis-matched fabric that never really came together as a whole, or, they were far too rigid of a geometric pattern.
Now, all these years later, looking at the Pinterest quilt samples, I see what I couldn’t see then.
- Chaos needs order: Random pieces have to be framed by design principles and color theory to work as a whole.
- Order needs chaos: Things that are too “perfect” can be dull. Life likes surprises.
The image that served as my challenge inspiration was a “crazy quilt” pattern. It had just the right amount of random energy in the shapes, tempered by a cohesive color scheme and grid overlay of trims that tied everything together.
I grabbed my graph paper and divided it into four quadrants. In each of the four quadrants, I started to add pieces of blue and yellow clay in a semi-random, “crazy quilt” configuration.
But something didn’t “feel” right. I crinkled up my nose and stared at the piece through squinted eyes, secretly hoping to see past whatever flaw I thought I saw. But it was no use. Squinting doesn’t erase design flaws.
In this case, even though the color scheme was coherent, and I had created some strong design lines within the piece, the overall effect felt scattered. Since some of the sections felt good to me, I decided to cut apart the quadrants and reassemble them around a very deliberate geometric mosaic. Surprisingly, the addition of more structure actually created a better sense of movement.
The next design hurdle I had to overcome was with the color. I choose a mix of dark and light blues in opaque and translucent clay that I contrasted with a light yellow. I was going for a vintage 1930s color palette. Good in theory, but in reality it shouted “baby.” And even though I had varied the colors, the overall tone was monotonous.. Thank God for mica powder! I went back in and added shading in blue, purple, green, and copper. Now I had foreground, middle-ground, and background colors.
Last but not least, I added some texture. I’m a sculptor at heart so I always have an urge to contort the clay, even on something flat like a switch plate. I did a little stippling texture, some cross-hatching, and then I added “stitches” to try to get the feel of different weights of fabric coming together.
Vote and win
The finished piece is my entry in the May “Mosaics” Challenge of the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy. Voting is open through May 7. Select your favorites and you could be entered to win a prize from one of the sponsoring artists (including me!) Go here to vote:
Want to own it?
This switch plate is listing in my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/YoungCreative