Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So here I am sitting in what I believe to be a place where all the elements that are conducive to my creativity come together...
I am sitting on the southern tip of Africa in a place called Kleinmond - where majestic mountains dip their feet into a fresh water lagoon that runs into the great Atlantic, surrounded by vines that produce the finest Chardonnay. The landscape is arid and the weather unpredictable.  Cloud may froth and spill like champagne over these mountains at any given moment - chased by winds from the interior and then close in to incubate this fertile area with rain.  This is when I feel like removing myself  from the world outside and create a song, a painting or a piece of writing.  But what do we do if we're in a place that is much less conducive to our creativity?  How do we manage being productive artists when time is limited and it feels like we are racing on a steamtrain to nowhere that we cannot stop? 

And yet, I've heard productive artists comment that nothing brings out the muse more effectively than a deadline - and how the count-down to make the deadline can feel like an excruciating childbirth.  While some of the world's finest crafts and textiles are created in areas with severely limited resources and by people who are living in extreme poverty - such as Rajastan in India.

I recently read a Turkish designer's view on creativity - that it is the ability to create something useful & beautiful within a limited period of time and with limited resources.  It seems that simplicity and the absence of clutter are elements that nurture an artist's ability to create - to see clearly and to focus on the process of creation.

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