Saturday, September 11, 2010

The sins of regurgitation and the art of rearranging

Do you ever say to yourself, "Wow, I should blog about this or maybe I should tweet this!"  You know, the moment of recognition, the aha you feel when you read, see, hear something worth sharing?  You turn to your left and no one's there, but you wish you could tell someone?  That's what it's like to participate in blogging and sometimes in the act of not blogging.  Why is this distinction worth sharing? 

Sometimes it's more important to really read that interesting blog post, article, magazine piece, explore that link and
not share it with others but rather just enjoy the knowledge for its own sake resisting the temptation to blog about it.  I go through periods where I find myself blogging daily and then there are spells where I feel like I need to be sponge and just soak in the world around me and its experiences.  Sometimes sharing via twitter, linkedin or blogging feels sacrilegious.  Often what feels right is just enjoying the information on its own merits and letting it lay in your mind for reflection and redirection another time whether electronically or elsewhere. 

I'm not being self critical but I am being honest.  What is the nature of design cultivation anyway?  I looked up the noun 'cultivation' recently reminding myself it's about the act cultivating, or culture, refinement or the state of being cultivated.  When you connect that to the word design you get designcultivation.  The act or art of cultivating design.  I stick the words together because it's what the internet requires me do to create a blog name I can use on blogger and perhaps elsewhere.  Ironically I like the words together.  They make sense to me.  Why?  Well I think about design all the time.  Design surrounds us waiting to be uncovered, to be seen and appreciated.  It's about observing, thinking, interpreting and doing.

Here's an example.  I like looking at rocks laying on the beach.  How they elegantly lay next to each other in random expression of the impact of wave action over time in colors reflecting the earth nearby just fascinates me.  I often collect handfuls of small rocks picking a wide variety of shapes, colors and textures taking them with me back home for future playful rearranging.  These stones stay with me in the watercolors I've created out of these compositions.  I often return them to the ground after a while, always making sure to replace with others later.  When I do this I'm having fun and this activity makes my mind and my fingers buzz in a kind of creative fervor.  It's almost a meditative act this rearranging of stones but fundamentally, it's all about cultivating a design sense.

Stone work certainly isn't about regurgitating something I saw elsewhere on the internet but rather a pure expression of how I take care to nurture and cultivate my creative self.  You can do this collecting and re-arranging activity I imagine with many objects natural or machine created.  It just means paying attention to items right in front of your nose in the physical, tangible world you touch rather than see online.  Digging your fingers into the earth poking around for interesting objects, feeling the cold clammy soil under your fingernails.

It can be a lifetime process of discovery and building your sensibilities cultivating your design senses rather than merely regurgitating information.  Once you start looking for design in unlikely places you see it everywhere and then it's with you for the rest of your life creating a tremendous feedback loop fully engaging and growing your creativity and design sensibilities.

My oh my, I think this phenomena is worth blogging about.  I would like very much to read about similar simple joys which similarly engage you and cultivate your design senses.  Especially practices you keep returning to year after year without thinking too hard about it.  Please share!

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