Thursday, January 6, 2011

Improvisation and creativity

Greetings Everyone-
A slight digression from what I had planned to share today...

People often ask me how do I figure out how to make my sculptures. It is a question that has many answers... sometimes I have an inspiration that comes from the beauty of a certain location. That is what inspired this piece. I was deeply attracted to the texture of the tree and the rich, lush moss on the sculptured rocks :

Then, sometimes it is a material that inspires me to make something expressive like this piece, which is a celebration of the giant mushroom that I found along a trail and the Wild Irises that were growing around the nearby pond:

And then sometimes it is the anticipation of a celestial event that inspires me such as the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Venus and the New Moon... all planetary bodies, so the idea of using the round orbs of the Goldenrod stem with galls just naturally arrived as a symbol of the planets in orbit around a central space which is how this design came into play:

And sometimes it is the pure technical challenge that interests me... the idea comes and I think... can I actually DO that somehow? In this instance, can I figure out how to wrangle several hundred flower blossoms and keep them all together in a formation? I'll give you a hint: waxed dental floss!

So, creative inspiration comes through many avenues for me. But all of these pathways have something in common; they are a dialog of sorts between myself as the artist/human/feminine-receptive part of the equation and all the other elements that have their own "voices" so to speak. I've often said, that I "listen" to what Nature, or the material has to say and go from there... it is a conversation to be sure.

Now, the really fascinating part is that science is now beginning to understand that this is not merely a metaphor, but in fact, and actual brain process. If you have 16 minutes or so you may want to watch this very interesting video from one of the TED talks. Dr. Charles Limb is studying the brains of creative people when they are engaged in creative processes, especially improvisation. It turns out that one of the parts of our brains that does get highly involved when improvising is the area that is responsible for processing language, even though words may not actually be vocalized, still, the communication centers are very active when engaging the creative flow. I found this to be quite interesting... perhaps you will too! enjoy!

1 comment:

Jennifer Star said...

Sally, I really appreciate this post. It is sharing a part of you and your creative process that we don't usually get to see or know, other than the beautiful results of said creativity.

As an artist that LOVES the process of beginning with an idea or inspiration and then creating and bringing into form a tangible result of the idea, problem solving along the way, it is wonderful to hear of another's story about their improvisational creative process. Thank you.

Welcome to the enchanted world of Environmental art and Faerie Houses sculptures created by Sally J Smith. Here you will find photos of the artist's unique art-forms and hear some of the stories from behind the scenes as she shares with you her creative process.