On Creativity - Art, Jewelry, Writing · On Design & Art

Clutter and Creativity

In last week’s Times, there was a mini-profile of designer James Draplin, with a special focus on his workspace. It’s filled with stuff he’s hoarded collected over the years, and it totally jazzed me up.

For one thing, I love peeking at other creative people’s studios. (Studio porn, it’s a thing.  See: Hyperallergic’s View from the Easel.)  For another, I bounce back and forth between the two poles of craving spare, tidy, Kondo’d spaces and feeling inspired by stuff, stuff and more stuff.

Currently the clutter is winning.

Here’s a part of my desk right now, with my notes for an article I’m writing, pieces of various  jewelery projects, objects I found on the street, glue stick, tools…


Whether I’m writing or making an object, it’s very hard for me to do it from thin air, by which I mean, it’s hard for me to design anything in a sketch book, or to write anything without some extant info — interview notes, a book, an event I’m observing, something, anything directly in front of me.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more comfortable with this: my approach to creativity is far more collage than conjuring.

Click through the slide show to the drawer filled with vintage patches.  Draplin says: “When I have clients in here, they’ll go through those things and go: ‘I just love how this feels. Can we make a label like this?’ And I’ll say, ‘Yes.’”  (Read Disorderly Conduct here.)



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