Herrmann says “the creative process is delicate” and I agree wholeheartedly. Do you know any writers, painters, scientists, sculptors, builders, or chefs who- tell you they are having some type of block? Creative space is defined as a concept that embraces the mental, physical, and emotional environments in which creativity operates. (Herrmann) This space is different for everyone as we are all unique. Possibilities and opportunities are the same for all of us in the creative space concept. Everything, every person, every memory, every co-worker, every favorite place are what feed the creative space concept. This is the space in which we are nurtured, celebrated, supported, and inspired, and creativity is strengthened. (Herrmann) Here is a Ted Talk given by author, Julie Burstein about Lessons in Creativity. She speaks to four different artists about where creativity grows from. https://www.ted.com/talks/julie_burstein_4_lessons_in_creativity
Where is your creative space? The beach, ocean, man cave, home office, reading nook, garage, attic space, boat, craft room, hiking trail, lake, sewing room, trophy room, secret room, casita, workshop, and the list goes on and on. Herrmann would tell you it is not only about physical space. It is about breaking this concept into three parts, making the concept of creative space more manageable.
- Individual “is you”
- The interface between numbers one and two
When creativity is lacking stimulation, it is most often because the interface between numbers one and two are lacking certain characteristics: (Herrmann)
- A Good “Impedance Match”- this is where the energy flow from you to the environment and the environment to you is soft and inviting versus hard and unyielding.
- Suitability-the environment you chose must be adaptable and variable or perhaps more than one environment is needed. Remember last week’s blog within the six-step creative process: verification and application? You need space to be able to apply the ideas-think about a painter: can they paint in the space or does he/she have to constantly set up and breakdown tools and canvasses each time. Not good for creativity. I have a friend whom rents space to write, where it is quiet and free of distractions.
- Personal Renewal-does the space renew you when you are in it. Nature is excellent for renewal with all its sights, sounds, and smells. Lots of light and air in the space makes for a creative space. Oprah Winfrey says, “your home should rise up to meet you.” I would say not always possible when sharing living quarters with others, but in your creative space it must rise up to meet you. I have a half round window 33” x 63” and it does not have a blind on it. It faces east and between 9:30 am – 11:00 am every day sunshine comes blasting into my creative space making it difficult to work at my desk because of the glare and the heat (in the warmer months). Not renewing at all and if I do not put a hat on, I’m forced to work somewhere else-suitability.
- Mutual Nurturing-the environment should stimulate and nurture you and you should replenish the environment and refill the environment’s stores that you might have depleted during the creative process. Take care of the space you’ve created.
- Portability-parts of the space must travel with you. Creative space should not be left behind. Perhaps you carry a sketchbook, journal, an app on your cellphone, a portable canvas and paints. Herrmann might call them creative space carriers of encouragement.
As we see above, the concept of creative space is fluid and portable, but what about crafting out physical space for the creative process? Herrmann suggests a few minimums it should have: a capture system, an incubation display, a place to create, and affirmative messages. The capture system is your notes, drawings, sketchbooks, the ideas when they hit you.
The incubation display could be the work table, a magnetic whiteboard or a bulletin board; these are items that hold inspirations for the idea. For example, I want to create a new dessert with coffee and chocolate. I might have photos of other desserts with components I like, pictures of china to help with design, a list of the textures and colors I’m looking for on the plate, notes on other flavors I might want to use, maybe even a sketch of a dessert with only shapes. When I am ready to finalize the dessert, I can use all these items for inspiration. A place to create could also be the work table mentioned in the incubation display. For my dessert, most likely it would be a piece of parchment paper, 18”x24”, with a drawing of the dessert, on the desired plate, with all the components labeled.
Even if the space is small, a place to create should be comfortable for you and not too claustrophobic. This is the space where unfinished work may be left without having to be packed up and put away. Lastly, affirmative messages which make you feel good. A poem, a picture, a letter, anything that strengthens and encourages you to be in creative space. Maybe a sign saying, Head Artist in Residence. Remember your space, your words.
These past eight weeks blogging about The Creative Brain have opened my eyes to an entirely new way of thinking and viewing other’s thinking through the Whole Brain Approach. My fascination with the brain has increased since reading this book. I have shared many of the key components, but suggest, if time permits, you pick up the book and read for yourself. As mentioned last week, it has opened discussions at home and I believe it will make me a better teacher because I can now see students’ brain dominant preferences through their behaviors. Today’s blog has made me realize I need to work on my physical creative space because it is not as nurturing or renewing as it could be. I hope each of you will look at your “creative space” and check to see the condition it is in. I will leave you with an excellent quote from Herrmann, “The creative space that you carry around in your head is the most important of all. All the external richness in the world won’t help you be creative if the creative space in your head is too small or tight.”
Burstein, Julie. “Lessons in Creativity.” TED. Feb. 2012. Lecture.
Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain. North Carolina: The Ned Herrmann Group, 2008.