Wisdom from Jon Stewart: Set Limits - Cycles of 10
I was catching up on my backlog of Fresh Air this week. Terry Gross did a great interview with Jon Stewart about his creative process for the Daily Show.(Click Here for the full Interview) One particular quote hit me so I had to hit pause and write it down.
"Creativity comes from limits, not freedom. Freedom I think you don't know what to do with yourself. When you have a structure, then you can improvise off it and feel confident enough to kinda come back to that."
This makes sense in many creative areas. From a musical standpoint Jazz is based on improvising over base rhythm and melody. From a sports standpoint basketball is a free flowing mixture of improvising over set plays. The more limits I impose on my self the more I grow. One of my professors used to tell me that school was about learning how to set up your own studio challenges.
A common challenge I use is a simple numbers game. I work in cycles of ten making different versions of a form to let my hands and mind get used to the idea. In the first cycle I keep the overall scale of the body the same as I change the proportions of height to width. I take the ones I like and make ten more copying the body but changing the foot or handle. If I work with the idea of keeping two out of ten I can make a lot of progress in a few rounds of pots. This challenge is good for me because I tend to make decisions on intuition without knowing why I am going in a certain direction.This systematic approach keeps me focused on the details with out loosing the excitement and momentum of a new form or decoration.
Here are a few tumblers that I've been working on using cycles of ten. I was changing the scale of the deco and thinking about density/focal point with pattern.