Friday, April 11, 2014

The Creative Process

I am in the midst of three fairly complicated sculptural projects and it is involving figuring out a lot of new techniques and designs.  It’s is fun but also hard work.  It is making me think a lot about the creative process.  I came across a related reference I had saved, “Jerry Hoffmann: Hammering Out Design From Conception to Finished Product”, by Gabrielle Pullen and Published in the August 2001 Issue of Anvil Magazine.

The article describes his creative process of design and implementation from start to finish consists of seven sometimes overlapping phases:

1. conception of an idea
2. making a drawing
3. modeling
4. estimating measurements
5. creating a test piece,
6. forging the piece
7. putting it all together. 

I think that pretty well says it for me too.  

Another aspect of design which I like to constantly revisit is novelty.  How to keep exploring new directions.  I always liked studying Jerry’s “variations” pages in his Blacksmith’s Journal.  At every step of the design process decision making tree I make some choice.  Usually there is an obvious option based on past experience.  If I picked that every time I would stay on the same path and not grow.  There is an “exploring novelty game” or “pick a modifier” game which is sometimes helpful.  It goes like this.

Think, “the obvious way is ____________, is there a ______________ way.” In the first blank goes my standard method what ever that is in the particular case.  In the second blank goes any modifier I happen to think of, such as:
more elegant
less expensive
Art Nouveau, etc.

It’s sort of a hokey tool, but it has led me to some interesting places.

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