Taking Imagination Seriously By Janet Echelman
The name of the speaker that captured my attention is an artist, Janet Echelman who gave this speech on taking imagination seriously in February 2011. Thus talk illuminated very well the stages that creativity she passes through. Creativity basically has got four stages and this talk shows how the speaker was able to go through each one of them.
Preparation is the first stage of creativity. People might think that creativity basically starts with an idea but the whole truth is that ideas will never arise in an intellectual vacuum. If a brain needs to come up with the innovative notions, it needs to be fed with the ideas and the materials that it needs to work with. This stage is very essential but is in most cases not celebrated and it involves trying to learn several things at the same time(Jessica, 2014). The brain at this point does not search for the magic leaps of understanding but is using the reasoning, attention as planning as well so as to gather information. In Janet’s case, she went through this stage with her ideas of sculpture curving. She developed an interest in this and started thinking of the best ways she could put her ideas. She visited the fishing ports of china where she watched the fishermen spread their nets in the water and started thinking of the best ways she could put this into a sculpture.
The next stage is incubation. This is another important stage where one lets it go. This is the stage where one lets the mind wonder freely but being keen on how the mind responds to this(Jessica, 2014). This leads to greater creativity. Janet in this case was simply watching the fisher men fish every day but in most cases never bothered on thinking beyond what these fishing nets could do.
At the third stage, the illumination stage, is where the connections automatically or subconsciously collide. This is where one reaches the point of consciousness and they are like, “this is it” (Jessica, 2014). Janet for example at one day looked at the fisher men fishing just as she does every other day. But this time, it dawned to her that she could do something more creative with these nets. She has put her focus on the hard sculptures and was finding it hard to make any progress as they were expensive and heavy. This time, an idea struck her mind that she could do something more worthwhile with the fishing nets and that she could create some creative sculptures that could be mind-blowing. With this, she could be able to make something creative and light as well as quite cheap.
Her idea however did not end here, she went to the fourth stage of creativity which is verification. Most people think that creativity ends at the thrilling moment when an idea strikes. For creativity to be able to accomplish anything, one has to use the critical thinking skills in order to think about the audience and then craft the idea(Jessica, 2014). Janet had reached a point when she knew what she wanted and tried thinking of what she could do to make people like her sculpture. She started with a small netted sculpture which was known as “wide hips”. Once she set it up, she notices that the sculpture was able to flow in the direction of the wind in various mind-blowing patterns and thus mesmerized her. She then worked with the fishermen to create a more permanent sculpture which she installed briefly in Madrid.
This topic has shown very well the concepts of curiosity and imagination. Janet was very much interested to know what the fishermen do and how the fishing nets could be transformed to something magical which she tried all means to research for several years. The imagination part is very well depicted when she was consulted to make more durable sculptures just could be engineered on one of the city’s center. She had no idea how that could work but she had an imagination of how the sculpture could look like. She went ahead to do more research for about three years and collaborated with engineers and specialist who make the fishing nets and they came up with something worthwhile and more permanent. She has a dream of making more sculptures and installing them in many cities in the world as she has gotten a positive response for her artistic work.
This talk can be very inspiring to people who have something creative to show but they either lack patience or they give up so fast. Janet persevered for several years and at times she ran out of ideas but she never gave up even one time. It is thus a lesson to be learnt that ideas can be put into place as long as determination, hard work and sacrifice is present.
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