Last week we happened onto a chance to join a special workshop in the fiber studio. As two of the three most fiber-fiendish staffers, how could we refuse? Instructor Maripat Hyatt had spread a table with silk scarves and implements to block their dyeing. Shibori is the Japanese term for tie-dye, and that’s what we did, with stitches, rubber bands, dowels and tongue depressors. What fun! Then we moved to the dye table and applied the color. Into the microwave went the silks for setting, and in the mean time, we practiced a little silk painting. Both of these techniques are offered in upcoming classes in the VisArts winter-spring schedule! We unwrapped our dyed fabrics, ironed them dry, and here are the results ~ [Registrar Shannon Fuller and Maggi Tinsley]
“People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.” — Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize winner, remembered for his oral histories of common Americans
Walking to school six miles through the forest, slaughtering hogs, tending chicken coops, saving Green Stamps to buy a pair of shoes, cooking cornmeal in a skillet on a wood stove, being the first African-American woman to serve in the Navy in World War II and how to survive the Great Depression were topics of conversation last Tuesday in the Weinstein Writing Room at the Visual Arts Center.
After introducing themselves and telling brief stories about where they’re from, 13 senior citizens from the Peter Paul Development Center are ready to rewrite history. Or re-tell history, as the case may be, in the new Oral History class with instructors Barry Wilder O’Keefe and Valley Haggard.
“How can they say that Christopher Columbus discovered America when the Indians had already discovered it?” asked 88-year-old Pauline Wheeler. “Shouldn’t we say that Christopher Columbus discovered the Indians?” The excitement in the room — about the opportunity to ask and answer such questions — was audible. And during the course of the next five classes, we can’t wait to hear more.
Michele Friedman’s jewelry is inspired by successful graphic, product and furniture design, as well as architecture. After developing her first metal line of jewelry, she wanted to incorporate color, and, after much trial and error, felted wool became the solution to her color dilemma. It had the rich, saturated color she was looking for, as well as a great texture. Michele, a past Craft + Design Show award winner, was a metals major at the Parsons School of Design. During the Craft + Design Show, she will be located at Booth 39.
Brian Bortz’s contemporary furniture blends vibrant exotic wood veneers with subtle shell inlay, hinting at the Art Deco and Arts and Crafts movements. His “free-form marquetry” mixes woods along organic and geometric lines using marquetry and inlay techniques for contrast, complement, tone and color. Brian creates a variety of furniture, including coffee tables, desks, mirrors, and dining tables in his North Carolina studio. His location at the Craft + Design Show Nov. 20-21 is Booth 7.
Despite its depressing news, don’t miss this Newsweek.com report on our national “creativity crisis.” While we hope that our grant-supported Art After School program for middle schoolers and our emerging creativity classes for businesses can stem the downward trend, only greater advocacy nationwide can foster permanent change.
Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.”
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It’s too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.
The touch of the cool firm clay brought my hands to life. I reveled in the mindless pounding, rolling and smoothing of the material. And, of course, in the creative challenge of beating out the other teams. All worries, deadlines and the constant chatter in my mind seemed to dissipate. ~Heidi LaSalata
Until now creativity has generally been viewed as fuel for the engines of research or product development, not the essential leadership asset that must permeate an enterprise.
Something significant is afoot in the corporate world. In response to powerful external pressures and the opportunities that accompany them, CEOs are signaling a new direction. They are telling us that a world of increasing complexity will give rise to a new generation of leaders that make creativity the path forward for successful enterprises.
In a Harvard Business Review blog post today, Prasad Kaipa, Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu and Simone Ahuja discuss How To Ignite Creative Leadership In Your Organization. Citing IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study, they note this key point: “A majority of CEOs cite creativity as the most important leadership quality required to cope with growing complexity. “
Creativity in this context is about creative leadership — i.e., the ability to shed long-held beliefs and come up with original and at times radical concepts and execution. And this requires bold, breakthrough thinking. We believe, however, that this isn’t about having a lone creative leader at the top but rather about creating a “field” of creative leadership, by igniting the collective creativity of the organization from the bottom up. In essence, creative leaders excel at creating creative leaders.
Read the details and examples at the post, then consider your responses to the questions they suggest you address in order to develop creative leaders who can help your organization cope with increasing complexity:
- What cultural, political, organizational and technological barriers should your organization overcome if it has to develop a cadre of creative leaders?
- What structures, reward systems, processes, metrics and goals do you have in place to support creative leaders?
- How do you encourage risk taking and learning from failure? How do you measure it?
- Do you simply adopt best practices learned from industry leaders or do you shape “next practices” that will make your organization the leader in the future?
- How effective are you in partnering with customers, suppliers, employees and even your competition to improvise “good enough” solutions?