Have you ever found yourself stumped because you haven’t got the right materials or piece of equipment? Or is that just a good excuse? We can all let ourselves off the hook from doing our work, creative or otherwise, because we don’t have exact supplies.
Obviously, there are times when it is essential to have a kiln, a camera, a canvas (or if you are David Hockney, an iPad). However, when you hit a block due to no materials, it could be an opportunity for some creative thinking.
In the excellent British Museum exhibition, Grayson Perry: Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, there is a small, fascinating sculpture which, Perry says, is, “a model tower I made from detritus on my kitchen table in 1983.” This was not an artistic decision, but one made due to lack of money for materials coupled with a passionate desire to make.
I have just finished reading “A Backward Glance”, an excellent autobiography by the 19 century author, Edith Wharton, who wrote novels including, “The Age of Innocence”, “Ethan Frome” and “The House of Mirth”. As a child, she wanted to write, but:
“It was not thought necessary to feed my literary ambitions with foolscap, and for lack of paper I was driven to begging for the wrappings of the parcels delivered at the house. After a while these were regarded as belonging to me, and I always kept a stack in my room. It never occurred to me to fold and cut the big brown sheets, and I used to spread them on the floor and travel over them on my hands and knees, building up long parallel columns of blank verse headed: ‘Scene: A Venetian palace’, or ‘Dramatis Personae’ (which I never knew how to pronounce).”
Not an auspicious start for a writer, but Wharton went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.
How could you find a creative solution when faced with a lack of equipment?
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