Saturday, July 19, 2008

Invitation to Conversation on Creativity May-I

Where Do New Ideas Come From, The Stork? (or look, all the other kids are doing it)

I am wondering if I am the only one (yes, the single person in the entire planet) who goes through this creative thought process, and am hoping that (through comments and replies to this post or if you prefer email, by clicking on the picture of the Ringleader of LLYYNN on the left) you will tell me that I am not alone in doing this. Ready?

Sometimes I have trouble giving myself mental permission to do certain design or technical things.

There, I said it. Please tell me I'm not alone in this.

What does that mean? Here's one example (I could give a zillion, but will just give a few) that may show what I mean.

When I first started making jewelry I used only beading wire with crimp beads and clasps, the usual stuff. I was very proud when I learned the best way to make a nice clean crimp and make a bracelet or necklace with pearls or crystals or whatever. And adding charms and dangles, that stuff.

Then I started using wire and just loved making my own headpins, and being able to wire wrap beads, combine them to make chain. All that.

But for some reason, maybe because I learned them separately, or at different times and contexts, I didn't use the two things together. It didn't seem to me to be 'allowed' to string some things on beadwire and combine that with wire wrapped beads. Like the BeadPolice would come and confiscate my tools or something.

Here's a beautiful example of a necklace by Lorelei Eurto that has beads on beadwire, and also wire wrapped beads, used in the same design. See, it can be done! And doesn't it look natural to do?

When I see that it's the only way something will work (say that the wire is too big to go through stick pearls and I need to use beading wire because the pearl is too narrow to safely ream the hole) and I challenge the thought 'you can't mix those two together' my brain has to go through this whole permissions thing, asking 'WHY NOT' - and if the answer isn't anything except 'Because you haven't done that before' - it makes me wonder why I get myself all boxed in like that in the first place.

Some things make sense, like not firing polymer clay with glass (DUH! at 1500 degrees F there won't be much purpose and it's also not smart) but there are other things that took me a while to try because 'that's not how I do that.'

Again, what do I mean?

An example of that is the idea to make the fused glass clasps with the fine silver toggle. The original idea was to drill the hole in the glass and either - 1. - Pass Wire Through and Make A Wire Bail or 2. - Put Chain Through and Hang Glass Directly On Chain. (both do work, by the way) .

One day I was wearing a chain pulled directly through the drilled hole in the glass, and while I was putting it on, the bead slipped and went zinging and zipping down the length of chain until the toggle bar stopped it and it hung there, with the toggle across the hole in the glass.

A-HA! My brain said. Thank goodness for that toggle bar, it stopped the glass hitting the tile floor and maybe cracking.

That's right. It didn't come through at first that ... 'Hey, here's an idea ... use the GLASS for the closure' and I don't know why not. Thank goodness something finally clicked in my head - LOOK at what just happened and think about it in a new way!

Now, for all I know, a million people have done it before, for ages and forever, and I just never happened to see it. But once it happened, it was like someone gave me permission ... here, you can do this, it'll be okay.

And the weird thing was, once I finally saw it as a possibility, it was impossible to see it as anything but an OF COURSE you can do that.

Another example of something in lampworking. I don't do that (terrible torch fears still unconquered) but many others do, to make gorgeous glass beads. I know that to make lampwork beads with the torch a mandrel is used as the base, and later the bead release lets the cooled glass bead slip off the mandrel and the hole is used for stringing the bead.

Then I saw these beads, made onto large skeleton keys, and they stay right on the key. And the hole in the top of the key is used to attach them to jewelry. Cool, huh? Different, unusual. All that.

Here are two designs for necklaces made by Heather Powers using one of them created by the Venerable Bead.

Once I'd seen it, and registered that 'here's a possibility' - it looked like 'OF COURSE you can do that.' It seemed like a natural idea at that point. Why not, why wouldn't someone use a key and put a bead onto it?

But someone had to first look at that key, and look at a bead mandrel and think ... hmmm, I bet I can make a bead right on this thing.

And try it, and find out that, why, yes you CAN. It really does work.

Anyway, do you find yourself limiting how you use things or which things you put together?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who goes through this permission granting creativity process from time to time!

Creativity - May I Take A Giant Step Forward?

Other references to the non-existent Bead Police, I'm not alone in this allusion:
'The Bead Police Won't Get You,' at Beadwork.About.Com
'Watch Out For The Bead Police' - about which beading wire to use


j.p. said...

No, you're not the only one! "But does anyone else do that?" is what my brain yells at me now and then. I'm not as brave as I was a few years ago and I'm trying to get that back. I did learn that if I ignore the red flags and warning whistles that what I usually get is way better than if I had listened. I know I have it right when it makes me laugh. Not because it's funny, but from the sheer joy it brings me. Thanks for making me more aware!

Gaea said...

Oh yes! We like to call it "The Invisible Brick Wall" It isn't really there but it can stop us like it is... Serendipity! I love accidentally discovering a new trick. It is amazing how hard it can be to look past what we know and on to what can be. Great post!

Lorelei said...

Thanks for featuring my necklace Lynn!

LLYYNN said...

Glad you didn't mind me using your jewelry as an example, Lorelei.

And it's good to know others have hit that 'invisible brick wall' - I like that description, Gaea - and burst through to new ideas.