….and how Brian Eno had an impact on polymer art in Broken Hill!
Recently, a wonderful teacher, Jen Louden*, wrote:
to shape and build more of the life you want, you have to make choices. To make choices, you need awareness. To access awareness, it helps immeasurably to be able to calm down no matter what.
Recognising that moment of choice and being calm instead of rushing headlong into default response is a work in progress for me. Acknowledging the spaciousness of calm and not doing my habitual thing (if it ain’t helpful) takes practice.
A lot of that practising happens in my art. And naturally it spills into my teaching. In our classes we’ve been talking about being open to new things, taking risks, doing something that breaks a creative deadlock.
In the 70s, musician Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt developed Oblique Strategies -a set of cards used to break deadlocks in creative situations. Each card had a remark to ponder and think about how it might apply to your situation. Sometimes the remarks are cryptic and many of these related specifically to music but can be reinterpreted to any form of creative endeavour. Here are some examples (with more here):
Use an old idea; Think – inside the work and outside the work; emphasise differences; tape your mouth; use the simplest idea; honour the error as a hidden intention; ask advice and many others.
Another version of this is Dayle Doroshow and Cynthia Tinapple’s Chaos Cards. I have been making my own Oblique/ Chaos Cards which include general and more design related prompts like Add Spirals; Make a curve angular; Incorporate words; Add texture; Include a memory as well as more Eno-esque ones!
Last night the ladies made bracelets in an analogous colour scheme using the personal palettes they created the week before. And they each had to use a card. There were some groans as they read out the remarks – what does this mean? How am I expected to do that? But with encouragement to risk experimentation, to approach things with an open and curious approach, they came up with some fabulous design ideas.
My latest version of not doing the habitual thing is my response to the challenge issued by the organisers of the White Cliffs Art Festival. The incredibly creative Cree Marshall gave a bust to a range of people with the instructions that it was to be covered and in line with the festival theme of RAW! I lacked the confidence to take progress shots and now wish I had but at least I have the finished object! I was inspired by the phrases raw metal, red raw and raw edges. And I set myself the boundary of not buying ANYTHING to complete the task.
Her Teach Now course is simply one of the best courses I have ever done.