october 17, 2016
INDOOR SWINGS- A STUDY IN CREATING OUT-OF-THE-BOX IDEAS
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Welcome to the lovely little home of Chris and Claude. Glad you stopped by. In case you haven’t noticed, here indoor swings are… normal. They add a creative element to the house and its character. You may call it what you want: unconventional, unrealistic, abnormal… Or you could call it creative.
This is creative. True. Do you want to know why?
You see, we all live in these boxes. Most of us don’t know it though. The box is the ideas, opinions and styles of those around us. If we’re talking about a homemaking box, it’s those Pinterest pictures that define what’s beautiful, those blog posts that tell you what’s “in,” or those magazines that limit all of our paint decisions to the top five colors of the year. It’s fairly easy to stay in the box. But, when’s the last time you got outside of the box?
When’s the last time you did something that most would call crazy? When’s the last time you started something that many thought would fail? It could be as wild as starting your own business, or as simple as hanging a swing in your dining room.
Maybe you haven’t in a while. And that’s OK. We start to get stuck in something that’s likely and same and boring. And most times it’s easier to be all comfortable in our box, rather than doing the hard work of pulling ourselves out and making something creative.
Picasso once said, “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”
And another artist, Maya Angelou wrote these words, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”
And again, a Mrs. Tharp penned,”The first steps of a creative act are like groping in the dark: random and chaotic, a lot of busyness with no apparent end in sight. It’s not enough for me to walk into a studio and start, hoping that something good will come. Creativity doesn’t generally work that way for me. You can’t just dance or paint, or make, or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule is what turns the verb into a noun- paint into a painting- elements into a room- writing into a book- supplies into a creation.”
So our advice? Make something, even if you dislike it. Even if you get rid of it.
Something really great can’t come until a bunch of “not so great ideas” have been passed up. That’s the creative process: weeding out, beginning again, making something, hating it, making something again. The only way to start getting out of the box is to do that first idea.
Our team has learned that creativity builds upon itself. It’s rare that you come up with a perfect project or an excellent idea after your first brainstorming session. Very rare. However, after one brainstorm session you may have a half-good, partially-out-of-the-box idea. And if you keep creating, you may eventually get that half-good idea outside of the box. Perhaps, if you keep creating and keep improving that creative idea, it will actually become good… And you know what else? Perhaps it will become really good.
That’s creativity. But it starts with one decision to make something, no matter how horrible it looks in the beginning.
Falling back into the box? That might happen too. One wildly successful artist, one Twyla Tharp once wrote,
“It’s going to happen sometimes: despite all the good habits you’ve developed, the preparation rituals, the organizational tools, the techniques for scratching out pre-ideas and actual ideas, there will come a time when your creativity fails you. You stare at the canvas, the screen, the keyboard, the empty room- and it refuses to meet your eyes. It looks away as if it’s ashamed of you. You may as well be painting on shards of broken glass. Your screen shows nothing but wavy lines. Your fingers slip off the keyboard, never getting traction. The room turns dark and cold, and someone is locking the door behind you.”
Listen. That space you have? That one that feels blank, empty, hard, boring. The only way it can change is if the blankness and emptiness and hardness and boringness is replaced by something. Sound simple? Perhaps we’ve always been making the creative process more difficult than it needs to be.
The team at The Chris and Claude Co. is looking forward to some new opportunities and further growth this next year. Fall has brought lists and half good ideas, and really good ideas, and a whole lot of taking deep breaths before beginning. Soooo, we’re learning along with you. Creativity is something our business is built upon. Creativity for us is a necessity.
And because it’s a necessity, creativity is something we are always cultivating and learning more about. In those times when your creativity feels starved and sad, remember this- the greatest ideas take time. Don’t let one setback stop you from building on top of it. The most out-of-the-box ideas only come after a stack of not so out-of-the-box ideas have been tried.
We appreciate you stopping by. It’s been an honor to have you over to our little home. And it’s been an honor to share what our team has been learning.
Thank you for letting us speak some truth into that creative bucket of yours. May you be filled to the brim.
with love, Claude