Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Thoughts...

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams

I went and double-checked and yes this is the Scott Adams who created the Dilbert cartoon, but I'm not sure if that changed how I thought about this quote in any way.

I really respond to the idea of being open to making mistakes.  Whenever I teach I always take along my first attempts or my first fumbles - the ones that show the mistakes I made.  I think its very important for us to make those mistakes and learn from them, and to show folk who think they can never do what you have done, that actually you started out with mistakes and fumbles too.

I also think I am a concrete learner. Do. Stuff up. Don't do again. Kind of thing.

I think the subtlety for me in this one is that you then need to develop the sophistication to know when things are good. You need to work out which mistakes are magic; and which mistakes produce not-good-art. This culling process is important to me as I strive to not let things that are second-rate out into the world. I try to make the right decisions about which pieces are good enough to be shown and in this way, I hope I am developing from being creative to producing art.


  1. Oh, Fiona this is all so true! You have to become comfortable with your missteps in order to learn the difference between a happy accident that leads you to where you needed to be, and a simple wrong turn that you have to backtrack and start over from! That there is no shame in a mistake, it does not mean you are a failure or that the whole project must necessarily be abandoned, sometimes bits or ideas can be salvaged, sometimes it just needs to be set aside for a while. But you have to allow yourself to fail, to understand what will succeed next time, and you have to accept all of it as part of the process and not get frustrated and despair. Such a hard lesson to learn, to be objective, and get your own bruised ego out of the mix! Thanks for the timely reminder!

  2. There is certainly truth and wisdom in these Thursday thoughts. You're right, the trick is to develop the sophistication to discern when the mistakes are not mistakes at all, but discoveries, and when they are truly mistakes and provide one more lesson learned!
    The letterforms are so beautiful in this post!

  3. fiona, i used to have around here the first skein of handspun wool that i dyed. i over alumed it. it was sticky, a sad brown, like sewage, and was dreadful. i feel like i'm only now maturing into my work.

  4. What beautiful ways to say Peace! And I'm giving your post and your visitors' comments a lot of thought.

  5. There is a great deal of wisdom in this, Fiona.

    I would add that knowing whose opinion to value counts, too.

  6. Sorry for the delayed response...

    TT-so true, we need mistakes and we need to realise that sometimes what we think is a mistake is in fact serendipity! If we are mindful of it, the artistic journey offers us so many moments of learning! Ah yes, and ego out of the way! Good reminder
    Patti - yes I do think its about sophistication and finetuning your understanding of what 'good' or 'success' can be
    Velma - I think its good to hold on to some of our beginnings - sometimes they can show us how far we have come; and as ever, the farther we go, the farther we realise there is to go...
    Carol - Thanks - I still love these white on white shadow pieces too!
    MIT - good point about whose opinion to value - it helps if they understand your work and have a kind heart, and can be a bit objective


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.