Creativity is always here. Even if we are busy with the rest of life’s needs. It creeps in the Windows, crawls between boards. It will open the door if left unlocked. The beginning of a vision for what we don’t always know. We can push the vision away , and if it keeps returning, pay attention. This one may really need to come into to being.
Why this inspiration and not another? We will never really know. But we can ask ourselves if we are up to the challenge of the translation to reality. We can take inspiration on and change the world, one bit at a time, for the better.
“We shall thus prevent our guardians being brought up among representations [music, sculpture, poetry, architecture] of what is evil, and so day by day and little by little, by grazing widely as it were in an unhealthy pasture, insensibly doing themselves a cumulative psychological damage that is very serious. We must look for artists and craftsman capable of perceiving the real nature of what is beautiful, and then our young men [and women], living as it were in a healthy climate, will benefit because all of the works of art they see and hear influence them for good, like the breezes from some healthy country, insensibly leading them from earliest childhood into close sympathy and conformity with beauty and reason…”
Not much to say after reading this, but a lot of doing needs to occur.
This weekend was full of work . I’m not complaining. But stating a fact. Part of the work is a modest design proposal for an addition to a house.
There are always lessons in everything we do. And this little design has reminded me of a few things I have known. Confirmed things I know even in a cobwebbed corner of my mind:
1. It is necessary to know when to respond with modesty over exuberance, no matter how talented a designer you are. And perhaps the lesson I needed to be reminded of. There is a certain critical effort that must be made to design thoughtfully while at the same time working from a place of restraint . Not all creative answers should be dominate , some should be quiet and simply fit in with what came before. This is the case for the addition I am working on.
The existing structure is a dynamic , yet simple, 1970 contemporary house. It’s dynamism is in it’s sweeping roof that is a singular gesture of form. On the rural landscape it’s primarily living area is visible as a single sharp pitched shed roof reaching from the ground and extending to the sky.
To take away this dynamic and singular move from the primary living volume by way of a bedroom addition would be disrespectful to the hierarchy of architectural expression . The best response is one of support. Of course making the overall building better, but not by making an over-expressive addition. Instead by making a better whole.
2. Most architects and designers work today with the use of the computer for 2-d drawings and models . And this had been my primary method for a decade . But with this small work I thought all handwork would be best, and faster. Because I teach architecture students I am well aware of their current use of computers, 3-d modeling and laser cutters. And I recognize the benefits of these tools, and use them myself. But the work this past weekend using pencil , paper, cutting blades and chipboard also reminded me how critical it is for creators to use their hands to understand their ideas, their work. From this process a clarity arrives, like the clarity we gain through concentrated meditation. The slowing down of the process in exchange for the immediacy of current technology asks us to think and be sure and clear of our decisions. The tactility of hand to brain connects us to the world in it’s reality like feet to a hiking trail, bringing connection and surety.
The process also reminded me of all the things I am capable of with my hands, the versatility of expression, creating, and making . And the deep knowledge I have collected over thirty years with my brain connected to the actions of my hands that allow me to make the art I currently pursue .
Mind to hand. We are makers in the world . There is no better substitution.
How do we come to know a place? Exploration, play, living. I spent some time in the dwindling winter snow today, appreciating what remains. Hoping for more. And worrying about fire season this summer if more of the great white stuff doesn’t fall from the sky soon.
A creative challenge from Lori Ryker, founder of Artemis institute and Anna Taugher of IAMACOLLECTION.
Anna and I have teamed up to create a challenge to get you to collaborate with nature and get your creative juices flowing this winter. We hope you will join us in the first installment of Earthly Instractable: an online community challenge.
At the core of our existence is the desire to create and make. Regardless of scale we create everyday. The act of creation, which is activity combined with positive intention, can be as simple as setting the table for breakfastor baking a cake, and as complex as architecture or composing a symphony. All of these creative acts provide a connection for who and how we are in the world. They set-up, set-aside, negotiate, and connect us to the world we live in.
To take the opportunity to respond to the world from our own point of view provides the time for contemplation, interaction, and experience with the pure joy of nature.
We have been wondering what would come about if many, many, people were to take a bit of time in nature and spend it in contemplation and creation. This is our Challenge, take some time for yourself to “be” in nature, collaborate with and create something wonderful, wonderous!
Follow these simple steps for your semi-permanent creation:
Step 1: Walk some distance into a natural area, stop at a place you feel comfortable in.
Step 2: Gather material that is straight in nature.
Step 3: Place the material into a cylindrical to semi-spherical shape, finished scale is up to you.
Step 4: Intertwine, wind, and connect the material until it is stable in its final shape, adding material as needed. (don’t forget it’s winter, ice and snow can be a great material to use)
Step 5: Place yourself inside your structure, en-joy.
Have a photo made of you in your Winter Earthly Instructable and post to Instagram no later than midnight February 16 with the following hashtag #earthlyinstructable
AND THE WINNER IS !
A winner will be selected from the top three submissions based on likes and comments submitted by midnight February 16. The winner will receive the inspiring book My People’s Dreaming: An Aboriginal Elder Speaks on Life, Land, Spirit and Forgiveness, Written by Max Dulumunmun Harrison and Peter McConchie, provided by Artemis Institute.
The winner will be announced through Instagram, and also on : iamacollection.com, loriryker.com, and on Facebook as Artemis Institute.
What we know, we can practice. We know ways of being, we practice these. These practices add up to a life, lived. We learn, believe and live differently. We practice our differences, and if we practice diligently there is a unique presence that comes to live on the Earth for a while. Practice has success, failure, sharing, love, making and challenge all wrapped up in time. We transform as we practice, as we move through the world every day. These posts found under “PRACTICE” are shared thoughts about practicing, and moments of my practice.
Let us all be brave to find the best way for each of us to Practice, to create a life that is full of moments of who we are.