Monday, November 5, 2007

Creative Intelligence and Weaving

In a recent email, artist and writer Robert Genn discussed something he calls "Creative Intelligence." He considers that for an artist to succeed, he needs this kind of intelligence. When he listed some of the traits he associates with CI (as Genn calls it for short), two traits seemed particularly interesting to me. First, artists with creative intelligence know "how to control the medium." But second, they also know "how to let the medium control the art.

In my work with crackle I have been talking quite a bit about my exploits in learning to understand the structure. Only by understanding crackle can I learn how to manipulate it to the ends I want to. And manipulating the structure has been what I have been about. Or so I thought.

But the crackle structure also controls what I create. The structure has possibilities and limitations. It has possibilities for exploiting color that plain weave (and other structures) does not allow, for example. I can do things with color I cannot do with these other structures. On the other hand, there are things I cannot do with crackle that I can with plain weave (or with other structures). So, while crackle gives me what seem to be almost endless possibilities for exploiting color, it also restricts what I can do. I cannot, for example, weave a tapestry, or at least a traditional tapestry.

There is a push and pull here and it is in working within this push and pull that ideas can arrive.

But Genn is suggesting something a bit more subtle. And this is what I am struggling to understand. He says that the creatively intelligent artist knows "how to let the medium control the art." It is the notion of knowing how to let the medium do the controlling that is intriguing.

It would seem, then, that the artist/weaver needs to be in control of the medium/structure, in control to the point that he actually controls the medium's controlling. This is worth thinking about...

For Genn's entire piece, including comments, go here.


Alison said...

I enjoyed reading this, thankyou. And coming from Leigh's recent post, it makes a nice follow on. I don't think Leigh's tracking is quite as subtle a force as you are necessarily talking about - but interesting, nonetheless.

Bonnie said...

I've always thought it was vital to have limitations in order for creativity to flourish. Someone recently told me that when they have a fence around a schoolyard, all the children play up against the fence; but when there is no fence, the children play right up at the school entrance. Your post made me think of that little story.