Considering the notion of how to continue to push boundaries and parameters as suggested in my recent tutor feedback I’ve returned to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this time his text ‘Creativity’.

I have been considering:

Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present…the whole point of art and science is to go beyond what we now consider real, and create a new reality.’

This helps explain the importance of looking at contemporary designers and makers. Their work is what is currently considered ‘real’. In order to go beyond this in creating, rather than recreating or imitating – innovative sample making must include an element of ‘other’. This ‘other’ is, I suppose, my voice. Being authentic. Being original. I suspect the sample making helps generate the series circuit that wires the brain into taking a risk.

On the forum tonight Sandra shared the work of Nic Webb. His work and use of nature as an ‘Outsourcing’ agent is new to me. It intrigues me and I am curious about what will happen to his buried piece. My initial reaction was in response to the video clip. The process reminded me of some kind of pre-historic sacrifice or ceremony.

I looked further at his website. His organic forms sculpted from wood seem to me like giant seed pods or fungi. The piece that entrances me the most is ‘Bound Form Bay‘ which has a feel of purple cabbage, fairy tale forests, and underground warrens invaded by root tendrils. I was encouraged to discover how he sees his work:

‘I pursue an organic approach to making, allowing materials and ideas to flow. I am keen to explore themes of function, ceremony and the history and cultures of Human making.

This, for two reasons. 1 – I picked up on the idea of ceremony and history – the materials and processes made this connection for me. 2- because he considers the notion of function – something that I have yet to explore in my work. There’s that form/function notion that just drops in here as a thinking seed. I looked on his blog to see if there was anything that I could extract from his work for the current project on joining.

His blog post ‘Hollow-in-Elm‘ of 26th January came up trumps:

‘I became a miner.  Each day I presented myself at the face and I mined Elm. The hollow only existed in my mind. It was a space I would make with my hands, my tools and my time. I chipped, cut, snapped and gouged, applying any action that removed wood and increased the void within the form.’

This curved joining of spaces that I’ve been considering shares some kinship in concept with the mining process above. I’m trying to take away to reveal the curve and the join, rather than add and decrease the void. It will be interesting to see where I go with curves joined with a space between.


‘Creativity: the psychology of discovery and invention’, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2013, pg 63

5 thoughts on “Creativity

    1. That’s a shame! When I’ve read his actual texts I feel heartened and invigorated by his understanding – perhaps the link I gave paraphrases his work too much and this message comes across. Sorry. Do try him again – it’s a shame you’re so far away or I’d send you my copy of his book (you can listen to both texts on audible – which is how I try to multi-task too – though his accent is a little barrier at first) and see if you can hear what I hear that way.


  1. I followed up Sandra’s link to Nick Webb too. Fascinating process, very beautiful work. His remarks about accepting or seeking chance are insightful too, quite different emotions towards a careless woman compared to natural process.


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