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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:08 PM   #1
Unkl Ian
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Default Creativity

Kind of hard to build a hot rod, kustom, or chopper,
without having some creativity. Maybe some of these thoughts from various authors will inspire you.

=========================================
Originally written for Paul Overton's creative process blog
Make & Meaning, which is now defunct:


"Whatever else may be said of me, I am fundamentally a dreamer: I have ideas. Lots of them. Most are terrible (ask me sometime about my scheme to potty-train cattle), but every so often, one will work out. And, like many creative people, when others see my work, I often get asked "How did you ever think of that?" When I was younger, the process was as mysterious to me as to anybody else. But over the years, I've learned a lot about where my ideas come from and what to do with them when they pop up, and the more I read about and talk to other creative people, the more I come to believe that there are, in fact, some more-or-less universal principles of creativity. And while there will always be something mysterious in the workings of the muse, I do not subscribe to the common belief that creativity is a magical gift bestowed on some and not on others. Like drawing, doing algebra, or speaking a second language, having original ideas is a mental skill that can be developed, and with practice, can
become second nature. What follows is a brief list of the stations on my own personal "assembly line" of ideas. If you need an idea and can't seem to have one, give it a read, give it a try, and see what shakes loose. If it works for you, remember it; if it doesn't, throw it away. Experiment, as
always, and develop your own process.

Step 1: Give yourself permission


Society does not always encourage us to express ourselves
creatively. I was lucky and had supportive parents who put up with my messiness, my inattention to detail, my continual dismantling of household appliances, my tendency to hunt for treasure in other people's garbage, my constant carrying
off and breaking of tools, etc., etc. They always told me I could do anything I set my mind to, and when I came to them, for instance, with a very ugly "modern" table nailed together from scraps out of the lumber pile, they didn't just pat me on the head and say, "That's nice, dear"—they put it in the living room and left it there until it fell apart. My friends who had stricter upbringings are off making more money, now, but none of them is very creative. They learned
early on to do what was expected of them, and that their own ideas were less important. So they stopped having them. And when they are called on to produce original work, they are plagued by insecurity: Well, I might do this, but that's stupid and would never work. First ideas almost always are, and almost never do. You've got to stick with it. Anybody can do it. And the more you do it, the better you'll get at it."

Step 2: Clean the slate

One of my favorite American artists is an everyday-object sculptor named Tom Friedman. Tom Friedman, famously, started his artistic career by going into an empty all-white room, closing the door, and sitting in it for days on end. This from an interview with Friedman in Bruce Hainley's 2001 survey of his work, published as part of Phaidon's Contemporary Artists series:

"Every day I would bring an object from my apartment
and place it somewhere in the space. The first day I placed
a metronome on the floor, and it just clicked back and forth.
Or I would sit the whole day, on the floor, looking at it and
thinking about it, and asking questions about my experience of it.
For me, this was more like a mental space that had been cleared away."

When Tom Friedman came out of that room, he started making art
that today is valued at millions of dollars by collectors all over the world.
Cleaning the slate is about eliminating the distractions of daily life and
listening to what bubbles up from inside. The longer and more deeply
you listen, the more interesting the things you'll hear.

Step 3: Use a prompt

I have a favorite personal exercise that I call a "junket." It goes like this:
Reach blindly into your junk box (you do have a junk box, don't you?)
and pull out a random object. Now make something beautiful and/or useful
out of it. Depending on the extent to which you express the hoarding gene,
you may be dismayed to find yourself holding a completely ugly and useless
piece of trash, like a bent rusty nail. Don't give up on it. Take it into your
empty room and stare at it for awhile: What shape is it? What interesting
features does it already have that you could exploit? What's it made out of?
How was it manufactured? What tools or processes could you use on it?
Mechanical? Electrical? Chemical? Satisfy yourself with the results,
and don't worry what anybody else is going to think. At least not yet.

Step 4: Write it down. Immediately.

Once an idea comes to you that seems even a little bit interesting,
get it on paper, or at least into a computer, within a few seconds.
I shudder to think how many good ideas I have lost over the years
because they came to me while I was driving, or working, or out with friends,
and some real-life obligation or crisis got in the way before I could record my
inspiration, and my brain just moved on. Don't let that happen to your ideas.
Write them down.

Right now.

Come hell or high water.

Step 5: Do your research

George Santayana said: "Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it." That's dramatic language, certainly, and oft-quoted in
the context of weighty political, social, or economic questions, but just as
true in the context of individual creativity. If your goal is just to satisfy
yourself, then it doesn't really matter, but if you want to bring your work into
the public sphere, you need to know what's come before. If somebody else has
already had your idea and acted on it, you need to know that to avoid repeating
their work. Even if you got there entirely on your own, there will be those who
criticize what you've done as derivative. This will almost certainly happen
anyway, and because nothing comes from a vacuum, in some sense such critics
will always be right. But if you know your history, your work will show it, and
you'll be prepared to explain, if you are so inclined, how what you've done is
new and meaningfully different.

Step 6: Make it ugly and quickly, at first

If you're passionate about your idea (and you should be), your head may
be exploding with possibilities: If this works, then so might this and that and
these. Or I could try it this way, or make it out of cheese and film a
time-lapse video of its being devoured by rodents. Then play that backwards so
it looks like a bunch of mice are spontaneously building it from cheese.
Whatever. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the possibilities, and at
this point it's a good idea to remember the KISS principle. First time out,
reduce your idea to its simplest, most minimal execution, and make that version.
Otherwise, you can get caught waiting on the tools, time, or materials to make
it "perfect" the first time. Remember Picasso: "When you make a thing, a thing
that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But
those that make it after you, they don't have to worry about making it. And they
can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

Step 7: Set it aside.

Once your idea exists, in the world, as a prototype
or concept or model or whatever, put it down for awhile.
Take a deep breath and go on a little vacation from it.
The point is to clear your mind for a week or two
so that you can come back with some perspective.

Step 8: Come back to it

This can be the hardest step of all. Once the initial euphoria of creation
has dimmed, you have to switch modes and become the editor, the critic, the
analyst. If you're like me, much of the satisfaction of the creative process is
in the "inspiration" stage, and I'd usually rather go on to another inspiration
than go back and put in the perspiration necessary to refine an earlier idea.
But very often it's precisely this effort that makes the difference between
mediocrity and excellence in the final product.

Step 9: Make it better

By now you should have some ideas about what's working and what's not, and the
challenge is to fix the latter without screwing up the former. Solutions may be
hard to come by, and you may have to go back to your empty room for awhile,
limit your options, redefine the problem. Now can be a good time to court
serendipity, and try to consider the ways your idea might have completely
different applications in some other area. If the Kalahari bushman from The Gods
Must be Crazy came upon your work in the middle of the desert, what would he
think of it? What would he do with it? What would a child do with it? A convict?
An architect?

Step 10: Rinse and repeat

The process of making improvements and revisions is, in truth, endless. You make
one, you set it aside, you come back to it, you make it better. Then you set it
aside again, come back to it again, and make it better again. The returns of
this effort may diminish with each cycle, or they may increase. At what point
you stop is entirely up to you, but keep in mind the words of Leonardo: "Art is
never finished, only abandoned."
---------------------------------------
Found on http://blog.makezine.com/
Reproduced without permission.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Creativity

Stewart Copeland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCGbpQSNSiY
on developing as an artist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HChgHGFEhPQ
on being a Maverick.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:11 PM   #3
Unkl Ian
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Default Re: Creativity

The same ideas apply to hot rods, Kustoms, or anything else.

Taken from Cyrilhuze.com:


"Here are the 12 strongest points of Cyril's philosophy
about what it takes to build an exceptional Custom Motorcycle.


12. A good Designer is not the one who takes you from
“what you have” to “what you want”, but the one who
takes you from “what you want” to
“what you didn’t even know you wanted”.

11. When you customize, don’t follow the crowd.
Just follow your dreams.
A Custom Shop should be a dream factory.

10. Great mechanical skills can only take
a motorcycle so far. Passion is the engine of creativity.

9. Designing & building a motorcycle is like composing
& orchestrating a song. Everybody can use the same notes.
But who is going to make a Hit?

8. A good bike appeals to your reason.
A great bike appeals to your emotions.
There are so many emotions you can assemble on a motorcycle.

7. Have nothing on your bike that you do not
know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

6. If you invest in beauty, it will be with you
for the rest of your life.

5. Just because an accessory fits doesn’t mean it looks right.

4. Good ideas result from uninhibited experimentation.

3. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

2. Good design is guts, brains and soul.

1. Customizing. There are no rules!"
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Creativity

Science Fiction author Harlan Ellison,
just substitute "artist" for "writer".
Not Safe for Work.

Getting paid.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV...layer_embedded

Copyrights and stealing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-ozWI-Ls9Y
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:13 PM   #5
Unkl Ian
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Default Re: Creativity

Found this and had to share.
Unfortunately, the author is 100% right on.

Too many people in North America want the cheapest crap they can find, and don't want to pay someone else a fair price for their labor. But they expect to be paid top dollar for whatever shitty job they do.

http://choppedout.blogspot.com/2011/...ecline-of.html

Skill, Craft, Pride, Cost, and the decline of the minds of youth and America

"So we don't have the time to preach much here and it's not really our thing, but i saw a comment elsewhere that prompted me to get riled up a bit about people's (mostly American's) lack of valuing hard work and skilled labor. I know everyone is not a millionaire and can't afford to buy the best of the best all the time or even hardly ever, but does that mean you have to poo-poo a nice well made product?
As a small biz owner (FMA) that does our best to make and sell the best American Made product we can, my ears perk when someone verbally shuns/or discredits a nice product in favor of a cheap, massed produced alternative. It's one thing to just not buy it but to make a stink about the more expensive item made with pride in small quantites that will far outlast the cheap alternative is beyond me. For the record this wasn't born from anything to do with FMA.

I know it is big biz to make a ton of stuff for cheap in a third world country and fill the shelves at walmart and sell it at a low price, but do you want to be forced to buy everything only at walmart or an equivelant? sure it serves it's purpose, but come on! While in Japan this last time i became more aware of their goods and the general public's style and put-togetherness, not to mention those that were/are "into" something.
There is an abundance of quality handmade goods in Japan from leather, to jewelry, to cloths, that are all killer! Sure it all costs a decent price, but people (even the general public) over there see the value in that item and spend the money for it. It was weird to see people on the train with like a really nice cast key hook hanging from there hand tooled belt next to another hand tooled wallet. I knew each item probably cost $300 each too! But these things are "for life" items and will be around far longer than some Hanna Montana wallet from the aforementioned discount store.
Let me be clear that i don't have money to blow on crazy expensive stuff, but something like a wallet i would send some coin on because i will use it for the next 15+ years.

This sort of idea comes into play a lot in America in fab/bike/hot rod shops. I worked in many and we would get tire kickers that would want killer one-off, tig welded, fab work done for assembly line mig welded prices. They couldn't comprehend the combination of the amount of work, tools, and skill and then put a price on it. Would they want to do their job for a much discounted rate? no, so why should someone that has a skill making something with their hands not be able to charge what it should be worth without someone (who has probably made nothing of value with their hands) complaining about the price when they wouldn't be a customer anyway? Don't like it, don't buy it no matter if it is metalwork, a pair of pants, custom boots, an oil painting, etc...
i just heard today on NPR that the government is possibly cutting funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS. Great, hopefully America will eventually die from diabetes and obesity, as they sit in front of American Idol and learn nothing. We don't need to teach people about art, music, and culture because that's boring, huh? Football and TMZ is more important. I know i am getting off track here, but i come from a family of musicians, artists, and craftsmen and think all of these things are important to building people's minds. I also noticed in Japan a lack of sweat pants, flip flops, and anything related to being "white trash" or anything that shares that same mentality, what a concept. (insert your smart Alec remark about why i should move there if i don't like it here).

I think we should do more to help and protect small business, skilled crafts, music, the arts. I learned to weld because i couldn't afford to pay someone to do it for me. Poverty is not much of an excuse in my book because i have made a lot out of little to work with and feel as if there isn't enough time in life to to, make, see, and experience all the things i want (that i know of at this time!). I studied photography because i couldn't draw, my brother got all that skill and one of my sisters is getting her masters in photography! Amazing, i love it! even though i have shot dozens of covers and had stuff in books and magazines world wide, she is blowing me out of the water!

Create, build, organize, just do something besides complain or gossip.
Be passionate about something, no matter what is cool or not cool for that matter. Do it because you love it, they way you want it. Not satisfied with something, do it better or at least try!
Who cares what we do in SoCal, who cares what the midwest is doing, east coast, etc, surround yourself with people you can learn from. Learning is one of the coolest things EVER and you can do it everyday! And for those that know it all, it's what you learn after you know it all that really counts.


I know i am way off on a tangent on top of a soapbox, but i guess i needed to get it out. I am not even going to edit or spell check this thing, hope it makes some sense...Talk is cheap, do something.

What are you doing? what would you like to do?
as mentioned, i like welding and working with metal, here are some examples:"













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Last edited by Unkl Ian; August 2nd, 2011 at 07:16 PM.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Creativity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4


Simon Sinek on Belief, Leadership, and Innovation.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Creativity

Embrace failure.

If you never fail, it probably means you are not trying anything new.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:19 PM   #8
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Don Fogg is a custom Bladesmith.
http://www.dfoggknives.com/
His thoughts can apply to all forms of creativity.

The Way of Bladesmithing
"Let's begin with the premise that what we make with our hands is the by product of a process and the process is the path we follow.
By process, I am not only referring to physical act of putting tools to materials, but also the mental and spiritual disciplines that are called upon. The tools work on both ends at the same time. They not only shape and form the materials, but by providing the direct connection for the maker they force the craftsman to learn about himself in the process.
There are various stages that all must go through. The beginning of learning a craft is a frustration of working with many unknown variables. The tools are unfamiliar, the body does not yet know how to hold and manipulate them, the mind does not know what to do with them or their potential. Gradually however, skills are acquired and the tools become a familiar interface with the materials.
When working, the mind must be totally involved in the process. If thoughts are anywhere but on the work, it shows immediately. Most tools are dangerous if you are not focused, they demand attention. Consciousness is forced to remain in the present. Every action requires thoughtful consciousness and every action shows directly in the work.
It is the effort to discipline the mind to attention that is most challenging. Because the work provides such direct feedback, it serves as frozen record of your consciousness. The work is also a receding horizon, the more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to learn. It is an inner journey expressed through the object that is created. While it is the process that involves the craftsman, the object, once complete, begins a journey on its own. We prize objects that reflect inner spirit and energy because of the affect they have upon us. They will move from hand to hand, imparting to each the energy it contains. This too is part of the process.
There are times, though rare, when you can become the tool. The conscious mind is involved with the work to the point where it loses the need for itself. Identity becomes totally involved with the process, there are no thoughts, but a simultaneous expression of work. Often inspiration comes when we have fully let go and we are open to receive.
I had guests the other night and the word discipline came up. We laughed because initially it was misunderstood. Discipline has a negative connotation when it is imposed on you from outside, but inner discipline is strength. Inner discipline provides solid ground on which to build.
Because the work is solitary, there is time for contemplation as well. In my early attempts to gain self discipline, I had to develop an objectivity about my thoughts. I found a vantage point from which I could observe myself and as I watched my thoughts rise up into consciousness, I began to realize that many were silly, inspired by memories or fantasies, but having no relevance to the present moment and the objective I was seeking to accomplish. The mind fires continually, first this direction then that. It can develop whole stories that spin on endlessly, some like nightmares recur and follow a dreary cycle that have an inevitable conclusion of depression, sadness, anger or defeat. To learn discipline, you have to disperse these thoughts, they are dreams and take you from your work. Allow the work to draw you back. Employ the mind or it will employ you.
Breath

A useful tool for centering the mind is the breath. I have heard the breath described as a silver thread that links you to the universe. If you purse your lips slightly and draw a slow deep breath, it is not hard to imagine the coolness of space and the silver light of the stars being drawn into your body. When you exhale, you imagine the energy passing through you and discharging into the ground beneath you. It has a calming and centering affect. This is ancient wisdom.
As you begin to control your mind, you realize that it is insatiable. It hungers for stimulation and will quickly divert to anything that distracts it. The modern world is a cacophony of sounds and images. We process so much information in the course of one day, an old timer would be dizzy from the effect of it, but we hunger for even more. The radio plays constantly, the TV is always on, we can not sit without reading, a telephone is glued to our ear, solitude is intolerable. This is a drug and it is used by others to control us. At the very least, it distracts the mind.

Sweeping the shop
The day begins with sweeping the floor. A clean and organized shop promotes clear thinking. I have heard makers defend their cluttered benches by saying that they know right where everything is, but when you watch them work, they spend much of their time hunting for tools. Sweeping the floor is also about getting a fresh start to the day. The problems and difficulties of the previous day are put into perspective when the bench is cleared and the tools are back in place. Use this time to mentally lay out the work ahead. Sweep the mind free of clutter and focus on the day.
Sweeping the shop also covers maintenance of the tools and reorganizing. While this is not a daily routine, I try to set aside a period of time each week when I oil and grease, tighten and replace things that I notice need attention during the week. Wayne Valachovic, a good friend and knifemaker, talked about attuning yourself to the machines. When you are working, you are also listening to the sounds the tool is making. When there is a change or something is different, it is time to stop and uncover what the problem is and fix it. My tools are getting old too and every now and then they have to be rebuilt or repaired. At first, I felt this was a nuisance, but because I took the time to work on them, I understand them better now and have learned how they do their work and in that way, it has helped me do mine better too. A good tool, with care, should last a lifetime. It is also important to observe how different tasks are done, always looking for a more efficient way. Perhaps changing the placement of a tool will save a few steps and therefore time. This shows respect for your time and is an important part of the process.
Perhaps the highest maintenance tool in my shop is my body. It requires good food, regular exercise, and ample rest and will not work properly without it. I have been blessed with a wife who devotes herself as consciously to cooking as I do to bladesmithing. She has nourished me despite myself, put up with my emotional attachments to food and in the end, I have to admit that a good diet has changed me in very positive ways. GIGO, garbage in, garbage out, is the computer expression and it applies to nutrition as well. In the old days, the Japanese smith would purify himself before working on a sword. By eating simply, usually rice and tea, ritual bathing, abstinence and prayer, the smith would prepare himself. This regime gives a certain clarity to the mind and being that is as relevant today as it was seven hundred years ago.

Chopping Charcoal
The apprentice in a Japanese sword smithy spends the first year chopping charcoal. This work is basic preparation of materials and I am sure promotes self discipline. There were mornings in New Hampshire when it might have been possible to chop the propane, but what is necessary is to prepare the materials for the day's work. This will involve lighting the fire, cutting the steel, tacking the billets together and welding on handles. This is grunt work, it must be done and it is valuable time if you use it to train your mind. We have an interesting insight into our mind when we are faced with boring or repetitive work The first voice you hear is your weakest self. If you really want to know what you have to work on in yourself, listen objectively to the internal dialog. "Many experience, and a few know, that things go wrong when one's self is not disciplined." Hazrat Inayat Khan
This is probably a good time to tell a story. I have a friend who use to be a luthier. A lute is an early stringed instrument and quite difficult to build. He was a careful craftsman and I use to enjoy visiting his shop. I noticed on one of my visits that he had a contraption screwed to the wall. It was an arm and hand fashioned out of wood with a cord hanging down. When I asked what it was, he demonstrated by walking beneath it and pulling on the cord. The hand came down and gave him a pat on the back. All of the work you do is without benefit if you can't enjoy the process or take satisfaction from your accomplishments. The clearest guide you can have in life is joy.

Attunement
Though this process of self discipline we are attempting to gain mastery over ourselves, but the next step is even more difficult. Once we are able to quiet our minds and focus our attention, it is then necessary to let go. While the preparatory steps of self discipline relied on developing will, the will has to be released and like a step into the void, we become empty. By letting go, we now are able to receive. This state is the source of inspiration and through it we are able to attune ourselves to the material and process. I believe this is how the ancient smiths were able to develop such refined work. It is within our reach as well.
"Polish the two fold spirit, heart and mind. sharpen the two fold gaze, perception and sight. When your spirit is not in the least clouded, clouds of bewilderment clear away. There is the true void." Musashi.

The craft of bladesmithing is non verbal. Working with the materials and the tools, it is quite easy to let go of the verbal dialogue. It is not necessary to translate every action into words or even structured thought. Thinking does not have to be linear. An interesting thing happens when you let go of language, first you are no longer bound by the subject-verb-object relationship. While this is a wonderful and necessary construct if you wish to communicate ideas, it often falls far short of accurately describing experiences that go beyond that relationship. Later you find that while you are working, you are capturing perfectly every moment of your consciousness. The blade is a frozen record of your experience, it needs no explanation because it exists and can speak for itself.

Ideals
It is said that a man is only as broad as his broadest ideal, only as deep as his deepest ideal, only pure as his purest ideal. While the craft may be the path, the ideals that you hold are the guide. When I first began making knives, my ideal was to produce a sword that unsheathed, its light and brilliance would reveal the truth. Each must choose his own ideal however and once it is defined, it must be cherished and honored.
With each decision that we make, we are constantly reminded of our ideal. Our choice is to move closer to our ideal, we will progress when we do. It is interesting that as we progress, our ideals change as well. It is a receding horizon. What we learn is how to see more clearly, we become more sensitive to the inner journey.
The true ideal however is always hidden behind the man made ideal. " The ideal is a means, but its breaking is the goal." the Gayan.

Perfection
I never thought of myself as a perfectionist because nothing I ever made was perfect. I realize now that it is in the striving for perfection that the journey lies. Each object you make can teach you something new. In it's materialization, you are bringing your ideal to fruition, but it is also in that interface between the spiritual reality and the material that the discovery lies. It is a journey, so if you take the next step you will progress. It is helpful to study your work and look for ways that you can improve. Take modest steps, refine what presents itself. Take satisfaction in your accomplishments, but accept with humility what you do not yet understand."
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:19 PM   #9
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More from Don Fogg:

The Creative Process
"The creative process is the mysterious aspect of the craft. Elusive if pursued as an object, creativity accepted as a process, it is the natural state of being open and receptive. It is the face of consciousness.
There is a natural cycle that holds for the creative process. First there is a period of receptivity, an open acceptance of change and wonder. If we do not block receptivity with rigid concepts or self limiting negativity, the well is bottomless. Then there is a period of transmutation where creative impulse is blended with experience and ideas begin to form. The creative act is the manifestation of the process, but it is not the culmination, that comes in the quiet after completion. When the vessel is empty, then it can be refilled.

Work Cycles
Everyone has times during the day when they are more productive, think more clearly, and are receptive to new ideas. If you are a careful and objective observer of the self, these natural rhythms can be recognized and utilized. We have been conditioned to work by the clock because this was assumed to be the most productive method of extracting labor, but this may not be the most efficient for the individual. The craftsman who works for himself is able to establish his own hours and find his own most productive cycles. The caveat is that one must also be the boss and the bottom line is productivity.
The tendency for some is to work all the time and unless you take time off you don't get any. Time off is essential, not only to rest the body, but also to renew the mind and spirit. Time is needed to recharge and stimulate. The well worn path from house to shop can be a comfortable routine and one gets lost or bored when it is broken, but it can also become a stagnant environment.
There is also a period of downtime after completing a really complex or creative piece. I use to try to fight through this period, but now have come to accept that I have been drained and any attempts will forestall the recovery time. I use this time to putter and tidy. Those projects that you have put off and been meaning to get to, now come in handy. Slowly things will start coming back into focus and before you realize it another piece is started. The struggle for the artist is to keep the bills paid while you are recharging. The only way I know to do this is to have several income streams. Developing a less complicated product or service can generate enough capital to fund the more creative efforts, but they have a way of growing out of control and taking over your time. Striking the balance is the lesson.

Ingestion
The creative process is the expression of your experience. If you are not taking the time to reflect on your life or make it stimulating, you will quickly stagnate. You are expressing growth, but to grow it is vital to feed your spirit. My first blacksmithing mentor, Peter Happny, plans an annual vacation adventure. He will save the time and money to visit the shops of Europe, explore the islands, even drive around the country and visit with other smiths. It is a good way to recharge, learn and experience new ideas, and is vital to personal growth.
My approach is more sedentary, I love books. When I read my books, I am absorbing images, line and design. The problems presented by the materials are universal and the solutions are wonderfully creative from culture to culture. The advantage of being born in the US is that we are not bound by tradition and can freely borrow ideas from all other cultures. The trick is to absorb what rings true and honest, learn from it and then let it come back with the same honesty.
A simple walk when done with a clear and open spirit will often recharge and revitalize. There are number of books out there describing right and left brain function. Activity that uses both sides of the body, like walking, helps to balance the mind. Deep breathing has a balancing effect as well.
It is difficult to quiet the mind sometimes. We block receptivity by holding onto negative thoughts and instead of growing, we chose to limit ourselves by allowing these thoughts to dominate. One way to break through the cycle of negative and limiting thinking is to remind ourselves of our ideal.

Digestion
Most creative thoughts and experiences come more though the environment in which we surround ourselves rather than from some epiphany. Since we are seeking to find expression through difficult materials, often beauty and discovery are revealed as we observe the work. We learn to use our tools and discover new uses by allowing ourselves the freedom to play. By observing our interactions with our world and reflecting on them, we will be drawn to discovery. It will fill us up.

Doldrums
There will be times when we hit the doldrums. There is no wind in the sails, no direction to our efforts. These can be frustrating and potentially destructive times especially if we are burdened with overhead. There is a difficult balance between going to the shop and having fun and the driving need to make a living. These two forces should not be in conflict, but without a balance they often seem like opposites. There is only one answer to times like these and that is to start moving again. Begin the next order or next project, begin and work patiently. Soon inertia will begin to loose it's hold and you will regain momentum.
We all go through these periods, it is a normal cycle and part of the recovery. It is the balance to the creative burst that will inevitably come at the other end. The difficult part is to remember that we are in a cycle of balance and to have faith.

Inside Out
Too often the artist/craftsman is working from his intellect. Intellectual work is immediately dated or so subjective that it requires verbiage to sustain it and it is rarely satisfying. Creativity is an inside out activity. You can not get there by consciously imposing yourself on the material, but rather you have to find yourself through the material. You have to let go."

Fire



" Of the four elements, the gods left the secrets of only one in the realm of man. And with it, he forged his will upon the world"
"I once met a famous sheik, leader of the Helvetti dervishes in Istanbul. It was said that he could see a man's destiny and so in conversation with him one evening, I asked if he could see my destiny. "You will be drawn to the flame and consumed," he said. At the time, I wasn't sure that this was a good thing, but he assured me that it was wonderful. I didn't realize how literal his vision would be until I found myself staring into a white hot welding fire twenty years later and made the connection.
The craftsman has an affinity for his materials and for the processes. Working with fire has been one of the attractions of forging. Fire is a powerful and dangerous ally, it accounts for the alchemy of the craft. If I am away from the fire for too long, my direction falters and when I fire up, I am revitalized. Fire skills are the first to leave for me also. If I am struggling, it often starts with the fire. I will rebuild or redesign my forge routinely as I gain more understanding or to reacquaint myself with the flame. A right fire is wonderful to work with and can unlock matter making it responsive and expressive. It is too easy to forget the tools or become complacent with them, but fire demands attention. I have moved toward technology to control my fires, but quickly was forced to accept that even though I can add controls and aids, the real work is in the attunement to the fire and that can never be replaced by a probe or controller.
Fire serves also as a symbol of the energy of the path. It transmutes material and purifies. In the incandescent white heat of a welding fire, I am reminded of purity. It is the key that unlocks the physical world and reveals the structure within the chaos.
The work of the craftsman is directly related to his understanding of the materials and processes. As a craftsman matures, his relationship to his media changes in very subtle ways. For the bladesmith, the central material is steel and the primary tool is fire. Because the steel is so responsive to the fire, even minor changes can have a profound affect on the finished piece. I believe this is true with all things. It is in our attunement that the nature of things is revealed. My education has been much like a jigsaw puzzle, pieces of information linking together with experience to reveal a pattern. It is a process of conflating these random bits into a tangible base of understanding and that is ultimately expressed through the creation of work. Understandably my view is personal and unique, but when I look at the world, it has given me a place to stand."


Vibrations
"All that is, moves. This movement can be described as vibration. What we glean from our lives is related to our ability to perceive those vibrations. Call it a song. Just as the strings on a fiddle will begin to move in harmonious response to music being played, we respond to the vibrations that surround us. It is a subtle effect and in the discordant blare of modern life, it is often hard to discover, but it is there if we can only listen.
It is hard to control all the variables that interact with us in the course of our work, but in the shop we can be aware of those that we do allow to enter. I use to work with the radio or tape playing constantly, blaring is a better word for it. I would crank up the volume to over ride the noise of the machines. A friend was visiting with me one day and he commented on it. "Doesn't that bother you, playing all the time?" I had never thought about it, but after he left, I made a point not to turn the sound on automatically. I noticed immediately that the shop was more peaceful and that I was able to focus. Soon I began to like the sound of the hand tools on the material. I still listen to music, but I use it now consciously and am more thoughtful about what I listen to.
It is not just sound vibration that affects us. If you accept this process as a way of changing and refining yourself then you will inevitably be lead to search out those things that block you. For me perhaps the greatest single element affecting my life has been the quality of the foods that I eat. Each food too has a vibration. Foods that are balanced and centering would be whole grains, beans and vegetables. Extremes would be animal products, sugar, and refined food. You can change your way of life simply by changing what you eat.
It is helpful to unplug on a regular basis. Go off by yourself, away from any modern distraction and just experience the natural world. So much of our lives are caught up in human energies that it may feel disconcerting and uncomfortable at first, but it will calm the spirit.
Recently a friend invited me to go ginseng hunting. When I arrived at his place it had begun to drizzle. We resigned ourselves to getting wet and went into the woods. Ginseng is a shy plant. It grows in the shade of old growth forests on the side of the mountains. We hiked into the woods to a forgotten corner of a preserved forest and began to hunt. The drizzle turned to rain and then the skies opened and the fury of a wild thunderstorm pelted and whipped around us. We went from wet to drenched. We continued to hunt. The woods were wild, footing treacherous, but because of the elements we were forced to focus and old senses were awakened. The rain washed away all burdens from me and heightened my awareness.
I found the old plant and it seemed to glow in the light of the storm. It caught my eye in much the same way as happens when you feel someone looking at you. We had chosen to hunt after the berries had set so that once the root was harvested, new seed were planted insuring that the plant would survive. I gathered enough root that day for my personal use, but at the same time I gathered much more from the experience. The routine of my day to day had been washed away and by contrast I realized how my life had become encrusted within its own thoughts and patterns. It was as if I had been playing my own music constantly and caught up in this mental environment, I was deadened to the subtler vibrations around me. Once again the process is to let go."

Self

"When we are working, the entire focus is on the work being done. The personal thoughts that do arise are an intrusion and over time we learn to set them aside or they will interfere or ruin the work. This is not to say we are not thinking or that we are not conscious, it is just that we are not "self centered" and in this state of mind is peace and relaxation. We are in the moment, adjusting to the process, making thousands of actions and reactions as the work progresses. We are in the act of creation and as I have said, the tool works on both ends. The real product that we are making is the creation of our self.
We have come to identify ourselves with our ego, I am who I am. If we accept this egocentric point of view as consciousness then we have a problem. The body receives billions of bits of information every second, but our consciousness is only capable of processing 40 or 50 bits. Not only that, we can not do it in real time, there is a lag of up to half a second between stimulus and response.
Looked at in another way, what you assume is you, is really just a distilled reconstruction of your experiences created in the past tense. Since we are constantly in the process of creating ourselves, then it is just as easy to work towards creating our ideal self. We can do this through our work. When I work, the mind is racing around initially. It is the mind's job to connect the pieces of your experience into a coherent pattern, but this is background processing and does not need your attention. What does need your attention is right at hand and that is the work before you.
If you have ever tried to shoot a basketball or hit a golf ball, you know that it is nearly impossible to do with any success if you think about it. In fact, one of the most appealing parts about playing sports, is that you can get in a state of consciousness that is alert and in the present moment, without being in your conscious self. When you are working in an unselfconscious manner, you will become aware of the distractions that are not obvious from any other perspective. Some of these distractions are not important and can be suppressed by discipline, others arise like an alarm and need to be addressed.
Each and every morning when you open the shop and go to work, you have to begin all over again. The pieces do not make themselves. Even practiced skills need the full focus of your conscious mind. I found myself forging a blade last week when I had other things on my mind. Before I realized it I had beat up the steel. It was distorted and abused beyond recognition. It made me laugh that I could have been so inept and I realized that despite a lifetime of making blades, the one that was before me was the one that mattered. It demanded that same attention as my first blade and it brought me back into focus.
We live in a time that insulates us from responsibility. We insure our homes against loss, we insure our health, our car, our jobs through tenure if we are able. We accept canned music, TV, microwave popcorn, and theme parks. Every aspect of our lives is packaged, franchised and "safe", but there is a terrible price to pay for safety. We have abdicated responsibility for our own lives. No one is responsible or accountable for their actions anymore. If we are not responsible for what we do, then we can not truly know who we are or who we are capable of becoming.
I have a friend who use to sheep hunt alone in the interior of Alaska. He went nearly every year, not so much for the hunting, but for the feeling of being responsible for himself. Out on the mountain, far from any other human, he was forced to watch every step. A moments inattention would have cost him his life, yet instead of fear, he felt exhilaration. He felt alive. His senses were alert and he was open to experience the wonder and awe in the beauty that surrounded him. We do not need to go to Alaska to get that same sense of exhilaration, working mindfully in the shop and accepting responsibility for the work of our hands teaches the same lesson. We are ultimately responsible for our lives. In every step and action we take, we are creating our lives, it is what we do with our time. If we choose to do it mindfully we will continue to grow."



Don Fogg

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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:21 PM   #10
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Life

"It reminds me of a waterfall, this experience of life. Water pours off the precipice and in its free fall to the bottom, individual drops form. They are distinct from the main flow and unique for the brief tenure of their flight. From this perspective, each drop becomes an entity in and of itself. It experiences the forces acting upon it. It conforms and yet maintains its integrity until the brief course is over and it once again is shattered and reformed into the river below.
We struggle to maintain this precious vantage, to learn, to see with new perspective, but in the end we are reabsorbed and reformed. Our time is brief. If seen in a galactic reference, it is immeasurably brief, yet we know innately how precious life is. It is through consciousness that we are able to slow down the moment and succor the experience. How sweet are those moments that linger, they are the pearls we string on the necklace of our lives."

Winter

"There are definite seasons which mark our creative lives. I was born in winter and it is as good a place as any to start. Winter is a dormant time, a time when all living things withdraw. It is also marks the transformation from what was, to what will be. We call on our reserves to bring us through this season. The experiences that we have gathered through the hectic times of growth and harvest are now called on for succor. It can be a dark and cold time for the creative soul. Winter tests our resolve and measures our strength.
The cold slows everything down, locking it into crystalline form. Patterns emerge that could not be seen in the frantic activity of the other seasons. If we approach this season with dread then we miss the opportunity to learn from it. If we cling to our warm weather visions then we miss the patterns that the frost reveals. It is not pleasant to be cold and so we stack the firewood against it and huddle near the stove to drive it off. But it is an insistent cycle that we must go through if we are to emerge and grow. What keeps us going is faith and hope. We find that deep inside. Winter is a season of cold grace"


Spring


"Those first few days of Spring warm the heart. It is a joyful time, a time of rebirth and growth. The landscape slowly begins to show color. Buds appear on the trees, the grass greens and the birds begin to return. Life emerges from the frozen ground, the air is filled with song. Creativity can emerge like the Spring, warming the spirit with its excitement These early stirrings need to be protected against a late frost so we start gently. Pulling back the compost, exposing the roots again, mindful of how delicate those first shoots can be, we are careful in our labors.
I have just been through a long winter of the spirit. There were very dark nights and cold like I have never experienced before, but the season is beginning to change and I feel hope again. I wandered through my life like a dream, searching for what only an awakened spirit can perceive and finding only illusions. But the season is definitely changing and I feel an awareness of life and my connection to it that exists outside the storyline in my mind. I have hope again. Too early to see what new forms will emerge, excited by the prospect, I sit quietly and feel alive."


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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:21 PM   #11
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Buy yours here:
http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc...egory_Code=ALL
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:22 PM   #12
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Make something:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/ma...pagewanted=all

The Kitchen-Table Industrialists

. Brian Finke for The New York Times
Hands On Ayah Bdeir, the founder and, more significant, creator of littleBits.

By ANAND GIRIDHARADAS

Published: May 13, 2011

Late in 2007, Ayah Bdeir was working in a plush office in Midtown Manhattan, making a lot of money and feeling miserable. She was a financial-software consultant for a technology company. One of her specialties was peddling software for credit-default swaps — among the many complex financial instruments that would soon wreak havoc on the planet. Somewhere there was a thing from which these derivatives were derived, but Bdeir, atop countless layers of transacting, was too far away to see it, much less touch it.





Bdeir is 28, a petite and round-faced woman, gregarious and combustible. As she describes it now, the virtuality of her working life was deeply upsetting; she felt surrounded by the inconsequential, the endless conversation about how to display the nominal on PowerPoints that called for the making of future PowerPoints. Just before year’s end, Bdeir quit. She secured a fellowship, for considerably lower pay, from an art and technology center in Chelsea. She knew that she wanted her next project to be the opposite of a credit-default swap — tangible, constructive. And then it hit her: the opposite of her make-believe transacting would be to make things. A few years earlier, as a graduate student at the M.I.T. Media Lab, she fell in with a community that was trying to transform manufacturing — a new kind of small-scale, local manufacturing that could be done in the home, with machines no bigger than a microwave. Bdeir now resolved, over the strenuous objection of her mother and several friends, to become a new-age manufacturer.
At first, she pursued the idea as a financial-industry software executive might: she researched making, made plans to make and made PowerPoints about making. Meanwhile, she made nothing. Then, while earning some money by training not-very-tech-savvy designers in the use of electronics, Bdeir had the idea, in collaboration with a colleague, of making electronics components into Lego-like bricks that could be used by anybody, even the technically ungifted. She would make sets of self-contained bricks, filled with circuits, sensors, solar panels and motors that could be snapped together to create basic machines — for instance, a battery connected to a bulb and a pressure sensor that can illuminate or dim it. She would make things and allow others to make other things.
She would eventually turn the brick project into a business, selling $99 kits, called littleBits, for people to make their own crude gadgets. She wagered her career on the belief that in her resistance to the virtual, in her longing to make something actual, she was not alone.
And she wasn’t. Even as one boom era hurtled toward its end, a diffuse global community of nerds was at work on what it hoped would fuel the next one. They were coming to the same conclusion as Ayah Bdeir — that the new new thing was, in fact, things.

If you lived in Detroit in 1961 and watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” at a drive-in, you might have caught a 30-minute trailer called “American Maker,” sponsored by Chevrolet. “Of all things Americans are, we are makers,” its narrator began, over footage of boys building sand castles. “With our strengths and our minds and spirit, we gather, we form and we fashion: makers and shapers and put-it-togetherers.”

Fifty years on, the American maker is in a bad way. Such is the state of American industry that waste paper is among the top 10 exports to China, behind nuclear equipment but far ahead of traditional mainstays like iron and steel. Manufacturing employment has fallen by a third in the last decade alone, with more than 40,000 factories shutting down. More Americans today are unemployed than are wage-earning “put-it-togetherers.” But the American romance with making actual things is going through a resurgence. In recent years, a nationwide movement of do-it-yourself aficionados has embraced the self-made object. Within this group is a quixotic band of soldering, laser-cutting, software-programming types who, defying all economic logic, contend that they can reverse America’s manufacturing slump. America will make things again, they say, because Americans will make things — not just in factories but also in their own homes, and not because it’s artisanal or faddish but because it’s easier, better for the environment and more fun.
What makes this notion something less than complete fantasy is the availability of new manufacturing machines that are cheap, simple and compact enough for small companies, local associations and even amateur hobbyists to own and operate. What once only big firms with hulking factories could fabricate can now be made in a basement or by e-mailing a design to an online factory-for-hire. These machines can produce all sorts of things, including plastic pencil holders, eyeglass frames and MP3 players.

Makers, as they call themselves, can’t compete with the long, orderly rows of workers from the poorer provinces of China or India who cut, stitch and solder bras, shoes and cellphones for pennies — or even with the hundreds of billions of dollars a year worth of stuff that continues to pour out of large, old-fashioned American factories. Their method involves creating “hacker space” cooperatives, where a few dozen members share a 3-D printer, a laser cutter and an oscilloscope and engage in collaborative manufacturing projects. Makers have created companies like Shapeways and CloudFab, which for a fee will manufacture small runs of products that you design. They are becoming kit makers like Bdeir, manufacturing building blocks that allow others to create things.
Neil Gershenfeld, an M.I.T. physicist who is an intellectual godfather to the maker movement, suggested to me that the new tools would over time change global industry as we know it. He predicts a wave of new competitors for the megacorporation that designs, makes and sells products all under one brand. Instead, Gershenfeld imagines a consumer of the near future downloading a design for a mobile phone through an iTunes-like portal; buying an add-on from another firm that tweaks the design; and having it printed at a neighborhood shop in a plastic shell of your choice.
The new personal factories may seem like crude toys for only the most die-hard D.I.Y.-ers. But in technology circles, they are talked about as a looming revolution that could change the way people work and create new opportunities for millions. Personal factories can perhaps be compared to the earliest personal computers — versions of their giant counterparts that are drastically cheaper but also slower and more clumsy. This futuristic vision is the one that the White House endorsed in a recent report on personal manufacturing: “Within a generation, you will have a hard time explaining to your grandchildren how you were able to live without your own fabber,” it said, using a popular word for the new manufacturing tools. “Personal-fabrication technologies present an opportunity for our nation to continue to lead the rest of the world in manufacturing, but in a new way.”

Before they could create their own little manufacturing hub in Detroit, Andrew and Ted Sliwinski and their associates had to cleanse their industrial space of the stench of meat. Bucket after bucket of hydrogen peroxide and bleach helped to turn a former cold-storage warehouse in the Eastern Market of Detroit into a D.I.Y. manufacturing cooperative.

The Sliwinski brothers came to Detroit from the suburbs of Philadelphia with the romantic notion of partaking in a revival of the city’s tradition of making things. They and their colleagues rent the 7,200-square-foot warehouse, where more than two dozen members of the cooperative share laser cutters, 3-D printers, plastic vacuums and power drills. The ground floor holds the more basic appliances — drills and saws and such. Once a week, they open up the space, named OmniCorpDetroit, to the public for an “open hack night” — something that many cooperatives do. (Since our meeting, Andrew decided to move again, to California, where he plans to establish a new hacker space.)
Andrew and Ted have their desks upstairs, where the fancier work is done: there are electronics-making stations, with oscilloscopes and other tools; a community sewing center with machines that do complex embroidery; there is MakerBot Industries’ CupCake CNC, a so-called 3-D printer that spits out small plastic wares. Makers describe it as the IBM PC of personal factories — at $699 and sold in kits for assembly at home, it is the democratizing technology.
When I was there, I felt an urge to make something of my own. Andrew volunteered to help. He is 28 and slender, with a thick, rust-hued beard. He was wearing a wool hat, thick-framed plastic glasses, a black hoodie and black jeans, giving him more the look of know-it-all record-store clerk than of manufacturing champion. But the man knew what he was doing. He guided me to the Web site Thingiverse.com, which abounds in digital models — three-dimensional files that the CupCake can print out. I browsed and chose an iPad stand.
I downloaded the files, and the computer processed them. The CupCake is a wood box, about the size of a blender, with open windows on three sides. The fourth side is covered with a rainbow thicket of wires and circuits; a spool of black plastic coil, which is melted to create the final object, poked in through the roof. As we instructed the computer to print, Andrew warned,“Oh, yeah, and it will start to smell like burning plastic.”
Which it soon did. The CupCake began to print. First the nozzle moved back and forth smoothly, dropping black plastic in neat rows. It was building a base for my object. Then it began to jitterbug, dashing unpredictably this way and that, depositing bits of the melting goo one layer at a time. Slowly it formed an iPad stand. But then, 19 minutes in, the machine lost the plot and began to squirt everywhere, and we had to start over.
We raised the melting temperature and tried again. Failure once more. Andrew tinkered with the machine and repeatedly muttered, “It’s not superhappy right now.” It was hard not to wonder whether it wouldn’t be easier just to have the Chinese do it.
Andrew said that the design I picked might have been flawed. We decided to try something easier: a hexagonal nut. At last, in less than half an hour, we had our perfect little nut. It was simple, unambitious and wonderful, though it might have been quicker to get it at a hardware store.
At the end of a long day, I accompanied a handful of makers to dinner at the nearby Cass Cafe. It was full of students and the artsy types now trickling into the city. Detroiters have various levels of appreciation and contempt for these outsiders, with their taste for all things free-range, open-source and wiki. OmniCorp fits well into this mix, because for its members and others in the maker community, manufacturing is about more than economic renewal; it is also about pushing back against the passivity that technology has bred, about being a smart consumer who knows what goes into your stuff. Making, for some, is a new liberal virtue. Andrew told me one day: “There is something calming or reassuring or relaxing that happens when you build something with your hands. You’ve just made something bigger than yourself. You’re not just being a consumer anymore.”

When Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone went office hunting in New York and found the perfect loft five blocks from Wall Street, they ran into two peculiar requirements from the landlord: they could rent the place if they had nothing to do with hedge funds and investment banks and if they could produce bank statements showing that their rent money was kept in such banalities as savings accounts, not in derivatives or futures. The landlord learned a lesson from the previous tenant, a trader who vacated when Wall Street collapsed.
The landlord was sufficiently reassured by the nature of the business, which is to do in a $6,000-a-month Manhattan apartment what the conventional wisdom says can profitably be done only in Shenzhen. Their company, Adafruit Industries, sells do-it-yourself electronics kits, which they manufacture and ship so that you, in turn, can make your own crude iPod equivalent or bespoke baby monitor or D.I.Y. phone charger. They are regarded as trailblazers among their fellow makers, because they actually manufacture in Manhattan and profitably. According to Torrone, the company had $2 million in sales in 2009, up from $60,000 in 2005, its first year.

In Adafruit’s spacious loft, seven full-time employees, Torrone and Fried, the engineer-founder who owns the company, labor away on the kits. The full-timers are paid more than $50,000 a year and receive health benefits. I asked Torrone, the creative director, how it was possible to compensate these employees and create physical things profitably in Manhattan. He told me that making things right where they are invented allows Adafruit to build, test and perfect new products more swiftly. The higher price of rent and labor are balanced by a reduction in shipping bills, so that the costs are manageable. One of the company’s best-selling kits, for a battery-powered cellphone charger, costs Adafruit $6 in parts and labor, Torrone said, and is sold to retailers for roughly $12. Moreover, he said, being in New York gives the company access to creativity and talent that is worth paying for.
“It would be cheaper if we were in the middle of nowhere,” Torrone told me, “but we’d be stuck in the middle of nowhere.”

Adafruit also illustrates how a good part of this new manufacturing operates through open-source sharing and what can be called social tinkering, in contrast with the manufacturing of the past, which emphasized patents, trade secrets and proprietary invention. Fried got the idea for such a company when, as a graduate student at the M.I.T. Media Lab, she began making simple MP3 players and cellphone jammers, just for nerdy kicks, and made the recipes for her creations — CAD files, software, mechanical drawings — public on her blog. Requests poured in for kits that would allow people to make what she designed, and Adafruit was born.

Today Adafruit remains an open-source company. It publicizes how its kits are made, so that you can clone them, and also reveals how it runs as a business. The company says which Internet service provider it uses, which shipping company, which software runs its online shopping system. Torrone told me that they share this information so that other companies, including rivals, can cut to the chase of genuine discovery and not get bogged down reinventing wheels.
At Adafruit, I did some quality-assurance work, which seemed a good way of understanding what the company did. I tested 40 circuit boards by pressing them against a set of pins. Thirty-seven passed. I placed each board in a pink bag and heat-sealed it. Later, I ran checks on bagged kits to find which of three clear light bulbs mistakenly shone yellow when electrified.

It was surreal to do this assembly-line work in Lower Manhattan. It felt like a violation of the economic laws of nature. The tasks were at once mindless and engaging. They required focus, because if you were distracted for a minute, you would mess up and your error would ramify into the world. But it also felt as if it could get old fairly quickly. The most invigorating part was that I didn’t think about e-mail, my phone or Twitter while I was making. I was, against all modern odds, indivisibly present.

It was that very feeling that Ayah Bdeir craved after leaving the world of finance. When that world tumbled into full-fledged crisis at the end of 2008, pangs of guilt shot through her. It was her swaps that had done this. “I was shocked, and I felt bad, because somehow I was contributing to this injustice, and I had no idea,” she told me. “I felt guilty for a while. I have three degrees; I speak three languages; I pride myself on my scientific and mathematical thinking — how could I not have understood the social, economic and political dimensions of something that I was working on that ended up ruining the world?”

She has now found peace in her littleBits. On my trip to New York, I was able to play with her prototype kit. (The real ones, a first batch of 300, will be shipped to customers this spring.) The little Lego-like bricks snapped together magnetically and repelled one another when you put them the wrong way, which prevents electric shocks or unintentional meltdowns. The kit is simple enough for children to play with. But Bdeir keeps a black notebook of ideas for future bricks that she hopes will allow customers to make more-complex machines.

She told me that when she received the packaging for her prototype and finally had the total kit in hand, as it would come to customers, she sent her family an e-mail: “LittleBits exists in the world because of me.” It was the heralding of the new and a last swipe at her own past: she now could boast of a real and tangible contribution — something that was because she made it.

Anand Giridharadas (a@anand.ly) is an online columnist for The Times and the author of “India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking.” Editor: Ilena Silverman (i.silverman-maggroup@nytimes.com).
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 07:23 PM   #13
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http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinso...reativity.html Ken Robinson on education and creativity.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 06:23 PM   #14
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http://speedmetalcycles.blogspot.com...-bastards.html

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Old September 11th, 2011, 06:23 PM   #15
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My friend Danno Drouin posted this on Facebook:




" (This is a quote from Harry Crews, my interjections are in brackets.)

The truth is simple, and it is this. The world has a way it wants people to live - go to work, come home, TV the night away, sleep, and do it all again. Try to step outside of the mold and achieve something, and it's going to cost you. Call it what you want. The beat life, the hipster life, the artist's life, the writer's life, the musician's life, creative living, hustling, living on your wits. A lot of people just call it FREEDOM. (I know I do). Some people believe anything is better than wages. (IE. happiness). It's all the same .

It's the big gamble, where you stake your whole life on your talent. (what have you got to loose). Some people say its a suckers bet; that there's one born every minute and you came along at the right time. Better to grab that steady paycheck they think, be responsible (gonna need a definition of this one), get in line and hold onto your place. And...there's something to be said for that, especially when you've staked it all on your talents and you reach the age when the 20 years - and - out crowd are beginning to retire with pensions and you're still hustling around, sweating the rent.But... there's a lot to be said for following your heart.The motives for living outside the lines are as varied as the people trying to do so.
I'm not talking about people too lazy to work or trust-fund babies who take up some creative endeavor with so much financial backing that they can't fail. There is plenty of both crapping up the landscape.
I am talking about people with a passion and a drive in their lives (you know who you are, and I love you all) that is so big it doesn't leave time for a job. People who are carrying something in their hearts that's so powerful that they HAVE to do it, no matter what the consequences. And the consequences can be severe. (man, could I ever tell you stories).
But... so can the rewards. People who knife through life on their own terms often reap huge payoffs (more stories to tell, hehe) Even small accomplishments count. When you make something that was never there before, create something without having to ask permission, its valuable beyond money. (I will repeat this, because this line is, in essence, what its all about) When you make something that was never there before, create something without having to ask permission, its valuable beyond money.

To put a fine point on it, I know people all along the spectrum who live outside the normal life. A few who gambled and found real stardom, a few who rolled the dice and crapped out immediately , and many more who found some middle ground to occupy. Outside all the normal human mistakes we all make and would like to undo, I don't think any of them, if they could rewind their lives and play it all over again, would change a thing. (I for one, would not).

This is a salute to everyone who steps outside the lines and creates anything. The world does not want you to do it until you make something they like - then...they'll be all over you. Don't keep them waiting."






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Old September 30th, 2011, 06:56 PM   #16
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Do what you love:
http://www.ted.com/talks/gary_vayner...o_excuses.html

Live before you Die:
http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_...e_you_die.html

Craig Frazer on Self Promotion.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 06:57 PM   #17
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From Changethis.com :


Creative Elegance by Matthew E. May

How to be Creative by Hugh MacLeod

14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas
By Mitch Ditkoff

A Manifesto for Mavericks
By William Taylor and Polly LaBarre

Unwealthy Habits
By Alicia Castillo

Cherry Bombs: A Supplemental Kit to Radical Careering
By Sally Hogshead

25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself
By Rajesh Setty

The Bootstrapper's Bible
By Seth Godin

Rework: A Better, Easier Way To Succeed In Business
By Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
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Old October 10th, 2011, 08:32 PM   #18
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A few thoughts from the late Steve Jobs:





"You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path."


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else's life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon
is the most important tool I've ever
encountered to help me make the
big choices in life. Because almost everything
-- all external expectations, all pride,
all fear of embarrassment or failure -
these things just fall away in the face of death
leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die
is the best way I know to avoid the trap
of thinking you have something to lose.
You are already naked.
There is no reason not to follow your heart. ...
Stay hungry.
Stay foolish."

"Your work is going to fill
a large part of your life,
and the only way to be
truly satisfied is to do
what you believe is great work.
And the only way to do great work
is to love what you do…
"




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Old October 10th, 2011, 08:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Creativity

http://youtu.be/dX9GTUMh490

"Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules, and they
have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them,
glorify and vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do
is ignore them;
because they change things.

They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as crazy,
we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy
enough to think they can change
the world, are the ones who do."
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 02:52 PM   #20
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 02:53 PM   #21
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From Cole Foster's shop:

Good Design: Simple solution to a complex problem
Bad Design
: Complex solution to a simple problem.
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 02:54 PM   #22
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"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
-
Albert Einstein

Conformity is the jailer of freedom,
and the enemy of growth.
- JFK
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 02:54 PM   #23
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"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." Frank Zappa
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 02:54 PM   #24
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"One common occurrence I have seen over the past few years
is how undervalued innovation, and creativity are within
education, and in many cases higher education. It shows
when new students come into design.

I can see the hesitation, the fright of creating on a blank
piece of paper, turning it into a work of art. Some are afraid
that they will do a "bad drawing", others seem to be hindered
by the fear of making a mistake. Others are just not used to
the freedom of expression and creativity. How is this? We are a nation of inventors, of creatives, and putting people on the
Moon...... (or at least we were)

Slowly (and really I do not have much to do with this),
the students re-learn what it is like to be a child. To not care
about making mistakes, to not care about what others will
think, to be creative and innovative again. Because lets face it,
every child is an artist, and inventor, a singer, playwright,
a builder of new worlds (and in some cases hotrods and motorcycles). I truly believe that the traditional educational system takes brilliant minds and makes them too often conform to a grade system that is based exclusively on repetition and memorization."


http://www.clevelandcyclewerks.com/b...nnovation.html
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