Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pondering a "new way"

Perspective of a Child

With the second of three children beginning school, the number of new discoveries relayed at dinnertime has been ‘refreshing.’  During weekends, we apply the use of a “Kit of Parts,” varying according to what we’re doing that day.  For example, this has involved the creation of structures with 2’, 4’, and 6’ lengths of bamboo canes (trimmed away from powerlines, for example) cut for the use of all three kids (the youngest, of course, ‘makes’ a sword and begins immediately), or the use of cereal boxes to make stencils/cut-outs for Drawings (of course, this also introduced the idea of Reuse, not just recycling).  In effect, I provided the ‘tools’ for a creative outlet/expression.  They, themselves, spawn new ideas, and in the end, I glean a bit of inspiration from their process.  It is easy to forget that their knowledge-base knows no limits or bounds…

Two ‘molds’ emerge, an Artist and a Builder, easily catered to and nurtured.  As simplistic methods unfold, I encourage expression and only offer advice if failure is evident.  I attempt not to intervene too harshly, which is a struggle and speaks to ‘protectionism,’ attempting to remind myself that ‘they must learn through their own devices.’  Two examples, the stencil was meant only for an outline; however, intricate ‘fill patterns’ and shapes were drawn on the chipboard, with, of course, no way to transfer the designs below, to the paper.  In the case of the structure, the bamboo posts were placed directly on the ground and kept falling over, so the idea of digging holes or piling sand around each pole was offered.  Both observations/advice were, at first, viewed with skepticism, but as they progressed, they tried the alternate method and were happier and successful in the end, as their frustration was abated.
Through typical Parenting, it was easy to think ‘silly kids’ and not absorb the possibility of ‘their lesson.’  But the more I thought about it, and the more ‘out of the box’ thinking it evoked, as a Designer, I was ‘reminded’ to jot down ideas, unrestrained, in my own Professional Practice.  This corollary is to a 30-second figure sketch exercise, we had while in College, calling for quick expression and economy of line…while I love the computer, pen-to-paper made for the quickest way to translate an idea to reality.  The ‘re-shedding’ of the computer, in favor of the pen’s fluidity, has occurred several times over my career and is accompanied by periods of ‘high levels’ of creativity – whether within a new office environment, a charrette setting, or most recently, a need for ‘quicker’ and ‘ungoverned’ designs – truly evoking the creative side.  All ideas were still scanned and introduced as process sketches for a Presentation.  The most powerful preliminary sketch was then produced for Schematic/Conceptual Design.  The sketches were retained to perhaps spur an Owner’s consideration of a different idea to what was developed or seeking to incorporate a single aspect that struck them into the advanced Design.
So from literal Child’s play to Adult Business, the creative aspect reinvigorated an avenue with less preconceived notions and no self-editing.  Successful for the Owner and for me, while remembering to let ‘kids be kids.’

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