Friday, June 5, 2009

Creativity and RBF (Rhythm, Balance and Flow)

Everyone knows good design when they see it, touch it and/or use it. It simply works -- simply and beautifully. It IS.

In my mind, it has “RBF”: rhythm, balance and flow -- the standards I use to judge my work. (image right: fire opal & peridot in 22K vermeil. SOLD)

Take the first characteristic, rhythm. The most basic and natural flow that we experience in our lives is our own internal natural rhythms. So during the design process, for me there’s a musical quality; I find myself counting -- different cadences for different pieces or portions of pieces. I become conscious of a drumming heartbeat – a deep  connection to my inner intuitive self -- as the design takes on life. Other designers I admire have told me they experience the same thing.

As for balance, I’m a Libra whose most visible element is the scale. The ideal being to have all things in balance, Libra’s function best in a state of equilibrium. However, I’m not talking about design symmetry (although I struggle to create asymmetrical pieces - it doesn’t come naturally) but in coming from a point of equal balance between any powers or influences, including mental and emotional balance. Ergo, I must be experiencing equanimity within myself to achieve a balanced result.

Artist Robin Hopper in his book Functional Pottery says:

“Balance is the point of equilibrium where stimulus, analysis and concern are matched by skill, imagination and understanding. “

(image left: rutilated quartz pendant on hematite with 18K gold) Intimately associated with rhythm is flow. Most obviously, flow is about the  compositional elements – how the eye perceives the parts as a whole; there’s a natural flow, rather than a whirlwind of chaos. But in addition, for me there’s a liquidity factor to the process; I feel like the design is literally pouring out of me through my heart and hands – I am giving birth as a design moves from an invisible internal concept to an external reality.

When these three elements are in sync, I feel like I’m flying; I’m mentally and seemingly physically off the ground, weightless. It doesn’t get better than that.

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