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Archive for May 15th, 2008

Tips from Teachers – New Bi-Monthly Format

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Tip #6 Slow Down, Enjoy Your Creative Treasures! Teresa Sullivan
Bead Netted Collage

Solve et Coagula! Divide et Impera! Here are some ways to sort through your stash of objects and let a story emerge.

First, make a righteous cup of tea or coffee and minimize your distractions. Put some music on. Gather up all the things that might be useful for the project, whether they “match” or not.

Then spread them out in a space that allows you to survey it all at a glance. Sort the things out by color first (for metal components I group by silver, gold/brass, and copper tones—but don’t do this just because I do, do it if it makes visual sense). Sorting by color doesn’t need to mean groups of one color only. I often sort things by color groups, colors I think look good together. Sometimes you find things going already in a direction this way.

Take a moment or two to just enjoy the look of your cool treasures. Take note of things that catch your attention. If something really inspires you, gather other things around it that might work well with it.

Then sort each color group by size. You might want to sort things into groups of small, medium-small, medium, moderately big, and really big (grade on a curve—some people work with pieces that are tiny up to medium-small, some do those giant fire-breathing Mark Pauline-inspired robots like at Maker Faire). On the other hand, you might want to sort into groups that have several sizes within each group.

By now, depending on the strength of your coffee and/or imagination, you may have begun free-associating themes based on the content of the pieces in the groups you’ve sorted. If not, don’t worry about it—others will! Pick a group that stands out the best. Refine it further if you want, taking out pieces that don’t strengthen the theme or flesh out the color scheme.

It may sound indulgent just to play with objects, but it’s really constructive. When you slow down and concentrate on taking in visual images, without the idea that you have to produce a finished product right away, it allows ideas to enter in.