Does your classroom need a creative reboot? Teachers, are you looking for ways to energize your own creative capacities? Parents, have you considered sharing creativity with your children?
Find new creative energy as you unlock possibilities using everyday objects. By revisiting an ordinary object and expanding its possibilities with your imagination, you open opportunity spaces to repurpose energy and set positive creative constraints for reinvention.
A Creative Bite
In this creative prompt from my ‘Creative Bites’ series, you will be challenged to stretch your imagination and expand reality.
1. Find an object. It can be anything.
Tip: When choosing an object don’t think about what you will create. Save that creative energy for the process.
2. Recognize & erase. Take a moment to recognize the object for what you know it to be, and then erase that definition from your mind. This is your first step to understanding the object as material.
3. Explore your object. Use all of your senses to explore the characteristics of your object. Don’t forget to listen! You can also take your object apart.
Tip: Prompt exploration using these simple questions:
- What do the colors of the object represent?
- How do the object and its various parts feel?
- What different ways can you hold the object?
- What does it sound like?
- How does it smell?
- What other forms can the material(s) take? (i.e. if you cut it, melt it, crush it, etc.)
4. Write down characteristics. What did you discover about your object while exploring it in the previous step? Write down those characteristics.
5. Launch imagination. Use the different characteristics of the object to imagine new uses for it.
6. Prototype ideas. Sketch your new inventions, and build them.
More Creative Tips:
Go wild, imagine the impossible. Don’t be afraid to imagine new uses that may not be feasible or particularly useful.
Play with context. Add another layer to your imagination space by thinking of the object in various contexts (i.e. the future, outer space, environments the object would not originally be found in, etc.)
Our imaginations are our greatest creative resource. Spending intentional periods of time in your imagination space and stretching your imagination muscle is crucial to the creative process.
Exercising creative muscles doesn’t have to feel like work. Instead, introduce creative prompts as mini-adventures or games. Use curiosity as a source of motivation and encourage a no-performance outcome. Challenge yourself and your collaborative partners to imagine impossible things…and then make them! Use the creations to open discussions about possibility and imagination.
For parents working with children, keep your ears open for the insights your children have throughout their creative journey. Think about what you are learning from one another. Open the door for your child to lead you through the exercise.
For teachers taking time out to reboot, allow yourself to be the student for a change. Go ahead and experience the wonder of creativity that you offer to your students throughout the year. Rediscover the challenges and the delights that come to pass during the creative process.
Developing your capacity to expand reality is great for anyone who struggles with moving away from conventional thinking, or anyone who finds it difficult to imagine the impossible.
Don’t forget to take time out to reflect on your process. This is one of the most important steps in growing one’s creative capacities. For adults, reflection could mean writing down the challenges you faced during the exercise and any emotions you experienced. Reflection for children may work best when sharing. Ask your child to share their creative process and engage their curiosity by asking them questions about their creations. “How did you come up with that idea?” “What did it feel like to imagine something new from your object?” “What happens next?” This last question gives them the opportunity to imagine a future for their creations.
Subscribe to Creative Bites for more prompts like this one. Join me every Sunday to grow your creative capacities and take a ‘bite’ out of living a creative life.
Holly Blondin: Creative Artist and Professional Educator of Creative Methodologies
Holly leads and facilitates creativity and design innovation methods for global audiences. Year-round she guides creative beginners to their creative potential from such institutions as Parsons School of Design, Culinary Institute of Barcelona, and the Hynes Institute of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona College. Holly speaks to global organizations on creativity and design and has presented at the ADC*E European Creativity Festival at Disseny Hub Barcelona – Design Museum Barcelona. A lifelong creative practitioner herself, Holly has years of professional experience as a performing artist, designer, and marketing & branding professional.
She blogs about the creative process on her website http://www.hollyblondin.com and connects with her audience in a weekly newsletter – Creative Bites. In addition to her passion for all things related to creativity, Holly is an advocate for literacy, arts & culture, and education. Holly is a resident of Barcelona.
MBA, Marketing and Entrepreneurship – Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College BFA, Musical Theatre Performance – Western Michigan University