On Beach Walk #64 (Creativity)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Creativity is a powerful word – so are related words create and creative. These words of similar meaning, but create is the verb, creativity the noun, and creative the adjective – but today I think of these words as a collective.

My first thought is about those creative with their hands – sowers, quilters, crafters, 3-dimensional artists as potters, sculptures, and others. Definitely not my strength, but these are skills that can be learned.

To some, creative people can draw and paint. Whereas some seem to be naturally gifted with this skill, but nope again, not my strength.

I think of an art teacher who once told me that anyone can learn to draw because there are four things to do – draw straight lines, draw curved lines, establish the proper proportions between them along with the correct angles. His words opened the world of drawing to me because I could now see the world through a different lens – a world that I did not know.

Did that improve my creativity? Oh yes, but I still don’t draw well because I didn’t practice, yet, there are times I look at something in terms of straight lines, curves, proportions, and angles – and yes – I see them!

One aspect of creativity is being able to think outside the box. A different way that others don’t. Now that I can do. Some see the solution as choice A, B, or a compromise of the two. The creative thinkers are the ones that find a new solution beyond those choices.

An architect told me that he has to have at least one architect in his office that is creative in his designs. Not necessarily abstract or modernistic looking – but one who finds a creative solution that meets the client’s wants and needs. A skill that not all architects have. But for those who have visited La Sagrada in Barcelona, Spain, Gaudi’s creativity is unique.

Sometimes architects are ahead of their time – but as time moves on, those designs transition into the mainstream. In some cases, even out of date.

Design engineers have to think ahead about future generations of their product. That would be true for a vacuum cleaner – but also for complex equipment as a jet engine. Creativity is an essential ingredient in innovation and improvement.

For scientists as Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and countless others, they thought outside of the box to develop their laws and theories. In general, physicists have a knack for creative forward thinking.

Trade workers as carpenters and plumbers are always problem solving. They face problems on a daily basis requiring a creative solution – and they seem to do it.

The creativity of musicians is impressive. Mozart’s composed music with many notes that can be too busy for some to hear. Think about how many types, styles, and genres of music humanity has created through the creativity of creative musicians.

Creativity is also a gift for writers and poets. A creativity they share through the novels, short stories, poems, and more.

Let us not forget nature’s creativity. It’s changing shapes and designs to optimize efficiency. The designs in shapes and colors seen in the shells on the beach that I walk. The creative ways different organisms capture food. After all, not all beaks and bills of birds are the same because they are specialized for different purposes. Yes, nature’s creativity at work.

All of us have a creative side – but do we use it? Do we develop it? Do we recognize the creativity of others?

Unlike the beach that I walk, creativity has no boundaries. Nonetheless, I enjoy walking the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Wall Project

Corks have a story. We may associate them with a vacation or a special occasion, Wineries make choices to display images, names, saying, regions, phone numbers, websites, and more.

Wine is a decorating theme in our home. Bottles, presses, and corks are easily found. (a past post)

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In terms of corks, all wine corks are not created equal.

  • In general, there are 3 types of corks: natural, composite, and plastic
    • Natural cork is from the inner bark of an oak tree (yes, primarily the Cork Oak)
    • The plastic even come in a variety of colors
    • To me, the composites resemble pressed sawdust bound by a resin
  • Corks have different lengths and diameters
  • If corks display printing, some are printed vertically, others horizontally
  • Some are printed the same on both sides, while others may have something different on the opposite side

corksvariety

This is a small cubby in our lower level. The angle on the upper left is the stairs. Some in our neighbors have a wet bar in the space, but we went with just the counter.

whatwas

This past January, my wife showed me an interesting image from Pinterest. I suggested we could do that in the lower-level cubby. After researching possible designs on Google Images, ideas were racing through my mind. The key question was original free-form/abstract or uniform? Measurements and calculations allowed me to estimated the need for 1050-1100 wine corks (if corks occupied the entire space).

After the easier-than-expected collection phase, I began designing. My initial thought was to put together a variety of designs on the mock-up to see what we liked and disliked. But, as I got going, I changed and tweaked as I progressed.

eclecticdesign

A few weeks later we were in a new restaurant for my birthday, and we saw several cork designs – and my wife liked a particular uniform design. Because I had so many corks, I created a second mock-up (in about 40 minutes) so we could compare.

During my cork collecting phase, I got an idea that friends thought was crazy. Whereas people were shocked to learn that I was on the prowl for 1000 corks – but then I told them I changed my goal to 1000 different corks – and no plastic ones.

With two prototype designs completed, my wife and I preferred different designs. While she found the eclectic design too busy, I found it easier on the eyes. Whereas she liked the uniformity of second design, it was a blurred to my eyes. So the challenge became to create something relatively uniform to fit her taste, yet be easy on my eyes.

repeatingpattern

As for the actual construction, first step was cutting a piece of plywood to fit the back wall. This would serve as a surface for mounting the corks (as opposed to attaching them directly to the wall).

board

All the advance work led us to cover the plywood with cork shelf paper. This could help add depth to our design.

The actual construction was a slow process. After all, in most cases, we glued the corks individually – most of the 800+ one by one. We did most of the work on a table. After attaching the board to the wall, we completed the project. Voilà!

corkwallcomp

Factoids

  • Longest dimensions: Bottom row 48 in (122 cm); Right side 40 in (101 cm)
  • 860 corks used
  • Only 2 plastic corks (because they were special to me)
  • Plain/blank corks form a border around the design
  • From the 860, subtracting the border places and the horizontal row of corks from sparkling wines – yes – no duplicates are displayed in the remaining 727

On Exploring Creativity

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Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. (Steve Jobs, Founder: Apple Computers)

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks. (Yo-Yo Ma, cellist)

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. (Albert Einstein,scientist)

Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for business people looking for a new way to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way. (Twyla Tharp, dancer/choreographer)

Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity. (T. S. Eliot, playwright)

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous. (Bill Moyers, journalist)

To me there’s no creativity without boundaries. If you’re gonna write a sonnet, it’s 14 lines, so it’s solving the problem within the container. (Lorne Michaels, Producer: SNL)

The human brain is one factor that differentiates humans from other animals. Through music, art, engineering, science, and other forms, this complex three-pound mass of interconnected neurons delivers many expressions of human ingenuity – and wait until you see these strandbeests.

On January 2015

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January, named after Janus, the God of beginnings and transitions

January wasn’t always the first month because March was in the old Roman calendar

January Symbols

  • Flowers: Carnation, Snowdrop
  • Birthstone: Garnet
  • Zodiac: Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19) and Aquarius (January 20th into February)

January has also been referred to as Ianuarius (Romans), Wulf-monath (Saxons wolf month), Wintarmanoth (Charlemagne’s winter/cold month), Tammikuu (Finnish, month of the oak moon), Leden (Czech ice month), Prosinec (Slovene)

The names for January’s moon are Old Moon, Moon after Yule, and Storm Moon

Depending on your location, the moon will be full on January 4th/5th, and the new moon will be January 20th

January starts on the same day of the week as October in common years, and starts on the same day of the week as April and July in leap years

January ends on the same day of the week as February and October in a common year, and ends on the same day of the week as July in a leap year

On average, January is the coldest month of the year for most of the Northern Hemisphere, but the warmest month of the year for most of the Southern Hemisphere … thus January and July are seasonal equivalents

Movie titles include movies Captain January (1936), The January Man (1989), and The Two Faces of January (2014)

January promotes teen driving awareness, unchaining a dog, bath safety, books, getting organized, wealth mentality, hobbies, learning to ski & snowboard, mail order gardening, letter writing, thank you, radon action, mentoring, slavery & human trafficking prevention, fat-free living, staying healthy, slow cooking, and getting over it

January celebrates walking a dog, worldwide rising star, creativity, quality of life, polka music, self-love, OK to be different, blended families, printing, high-tech, stamp collectors, crime stoppers, and yours mine & ours

January is the month to enjoy oatmeal, prunes, candy, gourmet coffee, hot tea, soup, wheat bread, swapping soup, bread machine making, brain teasers, and making bread in a bread machine

January is the time to embrace training your dog, adopting a rescued bird, celebrating life, dried prune digestion, balancing life, changing your stars, skating, being on purpose, finding your way, shaping up, reaching your potential, voluntarily donating blood, and watching bald eagles

January is the month to increase awareness about stalking, the thyroid gland, personal trainers, birth defects, cervical health, financial wellness, Braille literacy, child-centered divorce, glaucoma, birth defect prevention, poverty, eye health, clinical trials, autism, and self-help groups

Have a great January. Which songs did you enjoy?