Humans learn in different ways. Some learn by seeing, some by hearing, some by doing. And that’s just the beginning. I learn from one part of my life to another. Because I write, create collage, and offer professional business writing training and creativity coaching, there are plenty of opportunities for me to use something I learn in one part of my life in another part.
Yes, there has been pushback (“No one will hire you to run a business training class if they know you are an artist.”) General creativity creates a bigger surface area to absorb learning. If creative thinking is a threat to a potential business writing client, that job is probably not for me. Although I do agree that if viewers don’t like my art, they may also draw the conclusion that they will not like my training style. I’ll take the risk.
Creativity is not something I drag out when I’m in the studio. My studio is also my office, and the work and creative output creates a mix of information that benefits my art, my writing, and my teaching jobs.
For example, my artwork is abstract, and during the work phase of a collage, I consider questions a viewer might ask about the piece. Thinking as a viewer helps me make meaning for both of us. That technique also improves writing–unless a writer connects with the audience, nothing will change.
Meaning-making is the core of creativity. We don’t find meaning, we make it. Sometimes that’s harder than others.
My art work reflects my love for letterforms, codes, mark-making and communication. I wear jewelry that expresses some form of communication. Some of my favorite talismans are based on petroglyphs, an early form of communication created on rock walls.
Recently, I purchased a necklace representing the sun. The jeweler was also an archeologist. That idea alone makes me love her work, but something she wrote about the piece explained so much about her world view.
Reading her explanation made me understand the value of imperfection. It’s a hard lesson, as the American business model generally doesn’t encourage mistakes (or learning from them.)
Here is the quote. The necklace is in the photo at the left.
From the archeologist-artist who carefully sawed the sun out of a sheet of silver:
“One of my favorite things about finding something is that once you start looking, even the most perfectly made pots or beads . . . are asymmetrical and have rough edges (sometimes literally), so it’s hard to forget that SOMEONE made it.” Yes. Leave fingerprints of creativity on all your work. It makes it usable, real, and alive.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer, creativity coach, artist, and business writing trainer. Sometimes, she does all three at the same time.