Encouraging Creativity

Creativity and self expression are important to us as a species. Not just artistic creation, but all forms of creativity. I have to thank my mom for allowing me to experiment and play with all things artistic. Coming up on what would’ve been her 82nd birthday, I keep thinking about all the crazy ideas she supported in the name of art.

One time I had this idea that if I mixed up some plaster, poured it in a balloon, tied it off and then shaped the filled balloon around other objects, left that way till it hardened it would create some smooth, interesting sculptural shapes. Well, I wasn’t entirely wrong, however, it did take the explosion of a couple of plaster filled balloons to figure out that you (a) just couldn’t pour it in and (b), you HAD to support it the entire time.

Or… well… BIG MESS!

And I mean BIIIIIGGGGG mess. Let me tell you, I freaked out. I was extremely panicked. However, mom, did not. She told me I needed to clean that up, but then to my surprise, did not prevent me from trying again, to get it figured out. And so I did. I ended up with these ugly blops of plaster in weird little cool shapes.  I cannot remember what I did with them, did I paint them, sculpt into them, I have no idea now. However, what I do remember is that my mom encouraged creative expression and experimentation.

Which reminds me of the paper maché story. All my siblings know this one for sure..I’ve been teased and hounded about it enough.

Once again, one of my bright ideas.. I wanted to make a paper mache dragon. The regular way of strips and glue seemed to be taking too long and the texture was not what I wanted. So I asked mom if I could use the blender…

Well, I soaked the paper in water for some time, and whirred up my slushy mix in the blender. Ah, what a success! I drained it through a sieve, and then mixed up with some wallpaper paste. Wow, this was exactly the texture I was after, a rough bumpy skin for my dragon. Lets do another batch! I’m not sure how much I made before the blender started to sound a little odd. Oh, wait, what’s that black smoke coming from it? Crap, I think I just broke mom’s blender. I cleaned everything out, and tried running it with just some water. Dead. Oh man, crap, I’m in trouble.

I really did not want to tell mom. Anyone who knew her, knows she had a temper. But for some reason, when it came to artsy stuff, she didn’t lose it. Don’t ask me why. She was upset, yes, but didn’t blow up like I thought was going to happen.

I remember finally one year, when I was working, that I did buy her a new one. The best one I could afford. As only siblings can..My brother and sisters for years bugged me about owing mom a new blender, (even after I replaced the old one), it was still worth a laugh to them.

I guess, in the end, for me it helped make me the artist I am today. Messes could always be cleaned up. Sometimes things didn’t work quite as planned, but in the end, don’t be afraid to experiment to try something out.

Thanks mom.