(Video link here.) This video of artist and musician Brian Eno is full of interesting ideas about the creative process. The best, to us, is right up front in the first 1:44 minutes:
I think one of the things art offers you is the chance to surrender, the chance to not be in control any longer. Now if you think about it, most of the encouragement is to take control. What we like doing —and that’s the reason we enjoy sex, drugs, art and religion— what we like doing is surrendering. They’re really all ways of losing ME. They’re ways of losing yourself.
…The biggest mistake is to wait for inspiration. It won’t come looking for you. It’s not so much creating something. It’s noticing when something is starting to happen. Noticing it and then building on it and saying OK. That’s new. That hasn’t happened before. What does it mean? Where can I go with it?
Spotted in Design Milk’s recent story about Rua Confettora, unconventional, international design shop in Brescia, Italy: a white-painted ladder used as the support for glass shelves: instant, rustic/modern chic, made from ordinary materials.
We SO love the crazy-imaginative prom dresses industrious students make to antidote and poke fun at over-the-top prom-ism. We’re adding this curiously-girlie-though-made-of-cardboard one to our collection that includes the divine…
If you can’t draw as well as someone, or use the software as well, or if you do not have as much money to buy supplies,or if you do not have access to the tools they have, beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free and burns on time and empathy.
Change contexts when you’re stuck. Draw wrong-handed and upside down and backwards. Find a good seat outside.
Stop trying to be cool: it is stifling. read more…
In the past month or so, two readers of ‘improvised life’ sent beautiful virtual bouquets in the form of emailed jpgs. You might think that a cyber bouquet would have little of the power or effect of a real one, but we’ve got to say, NOT SO.
Part of the reason they were each so powerful was that they were unexpected: thoughtful, handmade gifts of beauty from people who we’d never met, but are connected to through ‘the improvised life’; they sent them to express concern, care, appreciation for the work we do.
The first were some hyancinths from Sahana, a long-time reader and thoughtful Commenter; it came out-of-the-blue when we’d abruptly taken the site dark in order to recuperate from the flu. We felt like a friend had sent us flowers. In fact, she had.
As a spring snow storm sweeps through the midwest, it seems fitting to post these wondrous snow paintings by artist Simon Beck along the frozen lakes of Savoie, France. He creates the beautiful geometric patterns, some as large as 3 soccer fields, by plodding through the snow in snowshoes for hours at a time. How long the transient artworks last depends on the weather, although Beck often redesigns patterns as new snow falls; sometimes a work will go unfinished. Beck’s motivation seems entirely improvisational:
The main reason for making them was because I can no longer run properly due to problems with my feet, so plodding about on level snow is the least painful way of getting exercise. Gradually, the reason has become photographing them…
Recently Dwell featured a slideshow of Brooklyn architect Tim Seggerman’s design to renovate a dismal brownstone studio with a sleeping loft. He was inspired by legendary furniture designer George Nakashima to “create an enveloping cabin of blond woods”. He managed to make a tiny 240 square foot space seem expansive by using the blond wood panels to disguise clever storage and cubbies. read more…
(Video link here.) Professional skydiver Erik Roner asked himself a question he’d wondered for a long time: what would happen if he sky-dived with an umbrella? Then he tried it, just to see what would happen. A man after our own improvisational hearts.
Question the “rule(s)”…
…ask “What would happen if…?
…and then TRY YOUR IDEA OUT!
Sometimes you break new ground, and sometimes you RE-discover what someone else already figured out, often years before… read more…
Ever since seeing designer Max Lamb‘s polystyrene bookcases, we’ve been huge fans of his work. He loves making things and lends an artist’s eye to fine craftman’s projects, documenting each step of his process to share on his website. We’ve learned a huge amount from looking at Lamb’s projects, many of which are do-able by any handy person. Take his DIM Shelf that he designed and made with Marco of the wonderful New York City store Kiosk, highly-edited selection of local products plucked from around the globe. DIM stands for Do-It-Myself, a concept that somehow makes DIY even more possible and real.
The shelving, which appear to be inspired by Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione (which we wrote about while back), were made out of standard ‘off the shelf’ timber bought at hardware stores: 1″ x 3″ pine (which for some strange reason is actually 3/4″ x 2 1/2″), and 1″ x 1″ (3/4″ x 3/4″) slats, plus a few boxes of screws. Most of the building took place on Kiosk‘s roof.
Here are our select’s from Lamb’s many DIM photos of the project (you can see every step here.) Definitely DIM-able.
Nearly 100 feet below Second Avenue in Manhattan, workers have been blasting into bedrock to build a new subway line in New York City, slogging through mud and muck daily. Yesterday, when a worker lost his footing, a frigid mud akin to quicksand began to swallow him up, creating an extraordinary rescue challenge and daring improvisations by the Fire Department. In the end, it would take an amalgam of improvised solutions: ropes attached to mechanical advantages, a backhoe, a manual griphoist machine and scores of firefighters crouched in the slop digging out the man by hand to finally release him from earth’s grip. The New York Times’ report headlined To Save a Life, a Tug of War With the Earth is riveting. Here’s an excerpt:
“It was a hell hole,” said Lt. Rafael Goyenechea, a paramedic who quickly reached the worker and stayed by his side for more than four hours. “I was definitely worried throughout about possible drowning.”…
Three firefighters suffered injuries during the rescue operation, including one who was hurt after getting stuck in the same mud that held the worker hostage.
….Battalion Chief Donald F. Hayde, who directed the rescue for the Fire Department, said he had never faced a more daunting rescue.
“It was the most difficult technical rescue I have seen,” he said, noting that around 150 emergency workers were called the scene.
In the end, both medical workers and firefighters had to improvise a solution for a problem none of them had ever encountered — mud so thick and viscous that it simply could not be cleared away.
“We basically had to try every different technique we have been taught,” Chief Hayde said. read more…
Ed White of Gemeini 4 (1965!) during the first American EVA i.e. extra-vehicular activity, done by an astronaut outside of a spacecraft beyond the Earth’s appreciable atmosphere. The term most commonly applies to a spacewalk.
This is what we’re really all doing in some way, right?
craigslist houseshare ad: “i have a garden growing in my shower so you have to use eco-friendly hair products. you will see worms and other insects, and you will occasionally see a spider too but they all help out the ecosystem.”
(Video link here will take you to exactly the right point.) We love Fred Rogers’ —the famed Mister Rogers’ — perfect, illuminating acceptance speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.
Rogers presents a simple 10-second practice that will shift your view, and provide you with a tool you can carry around throughout the day. (It starts at 1:27 seconds, or click the video link to go right there.) read more…