Sunday journalling prompt
Creativity and its different flavours
I was thinking this week about pottery.
I think quite a lot about pottery. It’s something that I’d love to do, but the texture of the clay gives me the heebie-jeebies, so I have to satisfy myself with watching The Great Pottery Throw Down and dreaming of the beautiful pots I’d make. But that wasn’t what set me ruminating this time. Instead, I was wondering how that specific kind of creativity feels.
Most of us would find it easy to say that both writing and pottery are creative. But it’s hard to pin down exactly what they have in common. Obviously they both produce something, but then so does a factory production line. Pottery is so physical compared to what I do; so direct and sensory. I know that my friends in the visual arts and crafts sometimes consider my practice to be bloodless compared to theirs. All I do (or so it seems to them) is sit down and type. They don’t understand why I’m not crying out to use my hands in a more interesting way.
I, meanwhile, often look at my potter friends and wonder how they manage to go back and make such similar things over and over again. Their creativity is iterative, based on repetition with slight adjustments each time. For many of them, the imaginative part of their practice happened a long time ago, and now they’re playing it out, sometimes over decades. For me, the construction of new ideas and forms is what I crave. I get to do it on a macro scale when I think up whole books, and on a micro scale when I populate those books with words and sentences. I am easily bored, and I can’t imagine working without a constant sense of newness.