Assignment Five: (Option One) Project 4: Where do creative ideas come from? Discussion Point:

Taking this from a personal angle, reflecting back on this course so far, I have found it to be my most challenging.


Because it has caused me to question who I am as an artist and also put myself into perspective.  I am a student, who still needs to learn, explore and discover.

However, is this a negative?

Through this course, I have been slower to come to ideas.  This on reflection, has meant more time spent researching and worrying and less time actually knowing what I want to do.  Yet as I come to the end of this final Textiles 2 course, I suddenly am flooded with ideas and want to explore them all.

This has taught me that it takes time to develop goo and lasting ideas and concepts.

Yes, sometimes in the past I have had ideas suddenly come to me and most years I have found myself constantly inspired.  This year though, I haven’t felt that way.  Sometimes ideas don’t come and artistic “blocks” get in the way.

Looking at the directions within the OCA notes, I began to research this subject of ideas…where do they come from?  How do we suddenly formulate them?

4 Lessons in creativity’ by Julie Burstein (TED TALKS)

After watching the above on film, I found myself drawn to these highlights:

  1.  We have to embrace experience that could change us by paying attention to the world around us.  In other words, don’t just want out of the house, get on with life and not look for inspiration.  In my own personal view, that’s like walking out as a corpse.  We need to stoke our interest constantly and be on “red alert” as it were.  I.E.  If we venture out into our garden, do we pass a flower and say “that’s nice” before passing by?  Or do we meditate on it, its character, its colour, its texture etc.  We need to have a MINDSET here, to be active in looking for creative ideas to use.
  2.  Personally speaking, I have in the past built entire course work around personal life experiences which have been negative or fearful.   Yet I have stored them, for future use.  Maybe this is therapy for me, I don’t know.  Yes, looking back I have now turned something awful into an outcome.  So at least I can say that I produced something out of the bad!  Within her talk, she discusses this topic, explaining really what I have mentioned, that sometimes we have to embrace challenges. We can make good from our broken, if we are open to using it as fuel within the creative context.
    3. We have to embrace our limits and understand really what it is we can or can’t do to find our own voice.  At times and yes through this course, I have found myself coming to ideas at the last minute as it were.  Because I cannot spend years and years on the course, I have to cut lose at times.  This can lead to frustration.  Yet it is then when our “limits” come into question.
    4. We have to embrace loss. That means standing in that space between what we see in the world and what we hope for. Often times that means looking squarely at rejection, heartbreak, war and death. It is called the “tragic gap” not because it is sad, but because it is inevitable. This tension can be held like a violin string and be made beautiful…her words hold great meaning here, thus they are worth continuing to look back upon.  We can capture “moments” through our work; bad or good.

Another of the TED talks was helpful:

Amy Tan a novelist, discusses where does creativity hide?

She discusses within her talk: how does an idea come into being to fill a space, whether in the mind or on the page? She puts her tongue in her cheek to make a few suggestions, such as a gene for creativity that some of us are blessed – or is it cursed? – with, or experience from past lives.

I liked her expression that creativity is an incapability to repress.  This suggests that it is something that comes to you and eats at you until you bubble forth.  This her description gives a very visual encounter for the audience.

As a novelist and at times spiritual thinker, some comments did not resonate with myself.  However if we take the idea of a novel and creating it as a development and an ongoing process, we can just as easily simulate her ideas into a textile or creative art context.  We can take the “principles” from her words.

One last TED talk worth mentioning is by Isaac Misrahi on Fashion and Textiles

Some of the comments are so honest and personal and funny at times.  Yet as an artist they could be really identified with.  He investigates the though process that goes into his successful ideas.  Often they are his mistakes.  He tells us that he is not inspired by his research.  It can come from sitting in a taxi with a man who has a hole in his shirt; these things make him question.

Another point of inspiration is suggested; that it doesn’t come from researching textiles when we are looking at textiles.  It can come from songs, music and films.  He looks at women’s roles and feminism.  Thus we can see cultural issues and social worries all set a part his way of working.

Moving away from the OCA suggestions of TED, I began to look at my own sources of research.  I found an issue of Phycology magazine from November 2016, where it discusses the subject of creative ideas within all contexts.  It explains how a few famous people found their ideas.

Agatha Christie is one such example, she was a success in her writing field, yet she had an almost template to her work in order to produce the books.  She had a framework.

Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) is another was some work.  Basically a template which can be applied to any subject; a frame which to work from.

An article on the website Come To Know, stipulates that creativity is simply the thing that drives us forward.  Within the same article it displays a view of our brain:

We may ask this:

Am I creative?

The article tells us:
‘Yes you are! Creativity is not a fixed ability that some people have the exclusive rights to.
Even though some people are more likely to be creative, we all have it in us – but the brain structure, power of your frontal lobes and your environment does have a saying in the level of creativity.
That being said, and although you are not in direct control of your own creative brain patterns,  there are a numerous of  hack you can perform and keep in mind, to increase your level and ability to think creative.’

Thus we can identify that we can work on achieving creativity; we don’t need to sit back and rest on our laurels, after self depreciating ourselves as just “not being a creative person”.

I particularly enjoyed this part of the article:

‘Flashes of insight are those aha-moments when relaxing our mind, and without thinking methodological and logically, we are coming up with significant solutions. You know it yourself, when suddenly realizing “I can do this in a better and smarter way” or simply getting an idea, that seems obvious, but you haven’t thought of before – a sudden realization.
Studies have shown, that we are actually thinking differently when we have a creative moment like that, than when we are coming up with routine or logical solutions. Your brain simply reacts in two different ways, and this has to do with the interior.’

Within the context of a degree, we need to have that ability to ascertain how we can do something better; not just be satisfied with what we have achieved.

Another comment highlight I found was on a website named Life Hack.  Within an article debating just this subject, the writer Dustin Wax surmised that ‘What separates the creative from the not-so-creative isn’t so much the ability to come up with ideas but the ability to trust them, or to trust ourselves to realize them’.  I understand from this, that much comes don’t to trust in ourselves, as I guess we all fear going wrong or making a mistake.  But when I self reflect on this, I myself ask, if we can view our mistakes as a learning point, a part of us, then where is the stopping factor from pursuing the creativity in the first place?

I begin to see from my research findings so far that we can get our ideas using the following points:

  • Preparation
  • Effort
  • Curiosity
  • Attention
  • Being in the right place

Looking at the subject in the above simplified bullet points, takes the detail and complicated matter out of the discussion (I think).

Using the above information, I can now understand the subject a little clearer. This is a good point in the course for this to happen, coming before I begin this final sample making under the title of Messages and Meanings.  It has made me more critically aware and with renewed desire to actively seek out inspiration; to not come to a stand still and panic because I feel uninspired creatively.

One last resource I must mention, is the website Textile Artist.  Not every article applies and most are written by creatives and not those who have studied psychology or the science surrounding this type of debate.  Yet this website is a good one to find honest articles written by people like myself.

When researching within the website itself, we find articles with topics such as these:

  • ‘Do we all have creative bones?’

The highlight from this piece by a weaving artist, was this box:

She confessed that this was how she saw her form of creativity and it was her working method.  Seeing it illustrated and in such stark simplicity, allows my brain to connect with it’s meaning.

Another article on the website was named:

  • Does clarity or lack of it destroy our personal voice?

Marrying this type of article and those written by the more studious within a university education context, creates a sense of balance and accessibility within this post.

Articles which I know I will find useful to re-read in the future have been printed out for my personal use.

All sources mentioned within this post have been noted down and added to my bibliography for Assignment Five of this course.








2 thoughts on “Assignment Five: (Option One) Project 4: Where do creative ideas come from? Discussion Point:

  1. Very interesting to read Ailish. As a photographer I’ve found that I often tend to use novels and poetry as inspirations for projects. those TED talks look very useful.


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