An exercise in small things

The roots of an idea – the creative voice and an exercise in focusing it.

When I am scouting around in my mind for an idea for ‘on the bench’, thoughts generally will arrive of their own accord, that is to say a bit random, much like inspiration comes for designs really. The creative voice might shout loudly, at other times it is more of a whisper.

For these post ideas once one arrives I will then turn to our dear ol’ frenemy and resource Google to explore whether these thoughts might have legs.  Sometimes they do and other times I know that ‘Twenty Columbo facts to impress your friends’ might not be topic that might be of interest to many but me. 

Did you know Steven Spielberg Columbo wavingdirected one of the first Columbo episodes? (First episode, ‘Murder by the Book’, just in case you need to know. 

Anyway I digress….

Occasionally, in the reading of articles, watching TED talks and various miscellaneous gatherings to defog an outline of writing that might just make sense I end up exploring all sorts of interesting corners of the internet and bookmark them for later.  Then news of another lock down comes and the idea that I thought I wanted to write about, now I don’t.

But something else does catch my attention

During my online wanderings I come across videos by Struthless, (real name Campbell Walker, a illustrator and content creator).  I watch a few videos (lots of really useful ideas related to creativity).  One called ‘The drawing advice that changed my life’ really appeals to me.  I’ve popped that one below if you fancy a watch.

The basic premise is that to help focus your creative scatterings, you pick one thing to repeat over and over in whatever medium you choose, or work (I have talked about the troublesome push and pull of different creative voices in a previous post that you can read here). There are several reasons foBranches on enamel on a grey backgroundr the advice Campbell gives, I really do recommend watching to see if any of these resonate.

This feels a perfect exercise for now.  I have adapted it a little, I’m not sure I can manage a year but a month of Lock down I can do at least, probably longer but no pressure. I like the idea of marking time and place and the repetitive nature of this feels so fitting.

There are enamel pieces that I want to explore more in detail with treetops and branches as inspiration.  I may have found my thing(?).  Or maybe the thing I want to be my thing. Or is it the thing I think I may want to be my thing….?  If so it is scary and exciting, if not, meh.

That is the point of the exercise though – to see where this one thing might lead.  To be honest I have been playing with this idea since 2016 or thereabouts, not getting it quite right.  Never focusing properly. I made a recent batch though I do like, a lot.

The enamel process really is a project in itself though and I don’t think I could manage a piece a day without compromising quality and probably feeling frustrated and there are technical details I want to work on.  I have chosen to sketch instead. That way I can take five minutes a day, or five hours, no pressure, anytime of the day or night. 

Later I can transfer to enamel or make some alongside if I find spare moments between making pieces that many of you lovely wonderful lot have ordered.

I like the idea of taking a space to push other things aside and focus on one thing only. Listening to one creative voice.  It feels slightly meditative and comforting. Here is  my first sketch (yep I started on the 2nd cos that’s the way I roll).

It is an open invitation to you too, if you like.  Pick an idea and see where it goes.  And meet you here in a month?





  1. Mary Booker

    Yes – a particular focus, but also keeping the mind loose so the unexpected can arrive. As a writer, my focus is usually a question, which I keep asking over and over in different ways and different contexts. I really love the branch drawing. Keep doing this! Mary xx

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