Creativity 1 “Just put a bird on it”

I’ve looked up definitions and quotes for “creativity”. And none quite explains what goes on. I had the opportunity to challenge and access my creative powers recently. Donnatella Versace says that, “Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas”, but lately I think it may just come from conflict.

I had been working on my current show for about 5 months straight with little time off. I had made my first deadline at a month before opening night by getting the photo shoot completed for the artwork for the advertising postcard. I was leaving the next morning for a week in SE Alaska with my mother. The show clothes were left to hang from hooks on the back of the fitting room doors.

What I hadn’t planned on was the arrival of 7 swallow fledglings into the studio while I was away. I knew something was wrong when I returned from Alaska and found black streaks across the walls and ceiling of my studio and bird crap on the floor. The baby birds flew down the chimney, through the damper and pinged around the place with their soot covered bodies, pooping on everything in sight before all dying rather horrible deaths. The rotting carcasses attracted all matter of vermin (okay, mostly ants) to cart off the remains. It was a horrific discovery.

Of the four ensembles, I had two serious casualties and one inconvenience. The casualties were long skirts (“Summer Rust” and “Watermelon Sorbet”). Both were made of fragile vegetable dyed silks that were unique and of limited quantities. I had no extra fabric left to re-make the damaged pieces. I took apart the skirts and delivered the damaged portions to the dry cleaners with express instructions
about what the damage was and to be as gentle as possible when cleaning. What was returned to me was even worse than what I dropped off. It looked like the garments had been treated with bleach and a scouring pad. What had been slight discolorations in the shape of bird splat, became large ovals of bleached fabric. On the up side, I knew that the fabrics no longer held any disease containing bird do. It was the most sterile silk possible.

But how to fix it?

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

– Scott Adams