Thursday, September 6, 2012

Creativity by Accident

Since this is a holiday week here in the US, I am postponing our next edition of my summer blog series until next Thursday. Instead I'd like to introduce you to Caro, who I met over on Etsy a few weeks ago. She's a kindred spirit and has quickly become an email-pen-pal of sorts. Let's listen to her tell her story about how sometimes the best creative inspiration can happen entirely by accident!

Hello! I'm Caro. You can find me normally over on Quirky Oak Artisan Jewelry, so come on over and say hi!

Occasionally friends or customers ask me how I came up with the idea for one of my jewelry pieces, and they seem seriously surprised when I tell them it was just by accident. Of course it’s not always by accident, but some of my favorite pieces wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for something going wrong in my process.

The truth is a lot of ‘creative processes’ are simply a result of someone doing something wrong while trying to do something right. Every day we encounter stuff that came about by accident rather than by design - chocolate chip cookies, for example - didn’t actually start out intending to be what they are today.

According to Wikipedia: [Ruth Graves] Wakefield is said to have been making chocolate cookies and on running out of regular baker's chocolate, substituted broken pieces of semi-sweet chocolate from Nestlé thinking that they would melt and mix into the batter. They did not and the chocolate chip cookie was born.

Here is my best-selling pendant which I created purely by accident:

My Drippr Interchangeable Pendant - a teardrop bead that looks like it’s dripping - resulted from me trying to get resin smears off a batch of teardrop beads. I had unpacked my new stock of beads on a surface where I’d previous spilled resin, and instantly ruined the whole lot.

Not wanting to waste them, I tried to file the dried resin off. But this left dull patches on the glossy beads.

I tried coating them with a thin layer of resin to bring the shine back, but it dried unevenly. Finally, I dunked an entire bead in resin and hung it out to dry. Now, I’m not saying the result was perfect, but I saw potential in the effect this created - and 6 months later I had honed and perfected this technique and produced a perfect dripping pendant.

I love this kind of problem - solution based creativity. It forces you to integrate chance - or randomness - into the creative process, and results in the creation of something you’d never have created if you hadn’t experience the problem in the first place. And sometimes, that’s the best stuff!

Guest Blogger: Caro, Quirky Oak Artisan Jewelry

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