I just got through reading a book on creativity which disappointed me as it seemed more focused on innovation rather than plumbing what makes people creative. After reading the book, I some websurfing to see if I could find more about topic of borrowing (or stealing) for arts sake. Obviously some artists and creative types are innovators (Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, Ursula Le Guin) but even these people built on what went before them. They did not “innovate” out of nowhere and more often than not artists borrow and “steal” as much as they make things out of whole cloth. Now it is true that the innovation lies in the retooling the “common” approach. But being driven to be creative does not equal being driven to be innovative. Nor vice versa.
This was very reassuring to me when I feel like I don’t have an original idea in my brain. It’s what I do with unoriginal ideas that’s important.
For instance, when I’m doing floral design, I take my inspiration from nature, and most often my designs are based on natural forms, shapes or ideas. That could be enough, if all I wanted to do was emulate nature. Most often, I want to expand what I see in nature and somehow add to it. There are people far more innovative than I in this arena (Brenna Quan, Christen deBeer and Francoise Weeks are three floral designers I admire for their work, artistry, and innovation) and I get inspired by their work.
It is true that I can find myself in a funk. When the Muse, whoever and wherever she is, fails to visit. And fails to visit for a long time. I can get discouraged about talent, aging, my place in the world, failing, success and a long list of other things. But as long as I can pick up a pen, overhear a conversation that sings to me, or touch a flower and and feel it’s liveness, I can find a spark of something. Maybe joy. Maybe something creative.
Heading over to Visible Monday to see what creativity is happening there.