I was thrilled to be a presenter at the Aldrich Museum and Ridgefield Library’s creativity conference, Advancing Creative Thinking : Imagination to Innovation, which took place April 27 – 28 at the museum in Ridgefield, CT. The idea behind this groundbreaking cross-disciplinary conference is that “imagination and innovation lie at the heart of the creative process in every discipline-from education to business to government.”
Presenters were given the opportunity to offer their techniques for utilizing imagination from their own particular area of expertise.
Large numbers of energized, enthusiastic people showed up for my “Gray Matters” workshop – teachers, gardeners, artists, administrators, tech folks, plenty of people “looking for more” to bring back to the workplace, or simply to gain some information about the creative process in general.
Some came with trepidation: I have no talent! We have to draw! What was I thinking!
We began right away to draw out the intensity, nervous anticipation, excitement and early morning caffeination that came into the studio classroom.
They scribbled; received more instruction, and built on the results using myriad options from the groaning art supply buffet table. What resulted was a large vibrating entity of creative people buzzing with activity. Each participant was working in a personal and unique way, some with high contrast charcoal, others with collage elements which sometimes burst out three dimensions, and so on.
It took the help of a volunteer who could wolf whistle to help me alert the crowd to incoming information. Even then I’m not sure I was able to get across exactly why the workshop was called “Gray Matters”!
We were here to dispel some common misapprehensions about creativity (as well as have art fun), among them:
1. That “talent” is required for creativity to be present.
2. And that only one person out of a bazillion has talent.
3. If you’re creative, all this talent-generated art comes streaming out of the right hemisphere of your brain. And there’s a perfect landing! No corrections necessary!
So not true! What is true, and workshop participants embodied this, is that capacities associated with right and left hemispheres of our brain complement each other. Like good partners, they take turns holding sway in their area of expertise.
Though the brain functions with constant interchange between these centers, you can attribute general strengths to each hemisphere, and utilize them in a conscious pattern.
This sequence of alternating dominance is comparable whether one is making an invention or a piece of art.
As the 10:30 end of the workshop approached I was prying the art tools out of people’s hands. Right hemisphere focus was not over, but the time was. Too short a time period, such a lot of vibrant creative art work coming out! A pleasure that could have gone on much longer. The next workshop was about to begin, we had to make room. Here come those sequences, time awareness, action plans. Yes, left hemisphere talking…sigh! Looking forward to doing this again (whole brain talking here!). Thanks to all!