One day, on Facebook, I noted my neighbour having a bit of a rant about people who use leaf-blowers. I get on well with her and had to admit to her that while I rarely used it, I did in fact own one. Now if I am going to use it, I call out to see if she is home.
‘Oh, sorry. Just wanted to see if you were out. Wanted to use the leaf-blower’
Noise in our lives can be distracting, both literally and metaphorically. In a recent conversation with architect Troy Smyth, he gave me a very interesting insight into how distractions can lead to insights. Routinely during his working day, he would take a coffee break and sit on a wall, under some trees across from his office. This short time for reflection was often interrupted by a gardener cleaning the footpath with a leaf blower. A minor irritation, yet just another bit of noise in the constant din of his life.
One day, he was sitting there and, for various reasons, the volume on the background noise of his life had been muted, and for once he was not ruminating about endless problems. …
Except for Carpe Diem, My-father-plays-dominos-better-than-your-father-plays-dominos (said very quickly in a monotone), is all of the Latin that I thought I knew.
But it turns out there is another Latin phrase that I know: Vice versa, but now a common English phrase. Curiously while vice is a word in its own right, versa is not a word in English. It is, however, the name of a Digital Agency in Melbourne, specialising in Ai.
Kath Blackham, the founder of Versa, explains that the name is derived from the word conversation, literally the middle bit a discussion.
Kath had come to my attention after she featured in an ABC article about her decision to close her agency on a Wednesday to allow her team to explore their own interests. …
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Douglas Adams
This was our mantra when we were at university.
For me, though, it was more of a case of the sound of deadlines hurtling, seemingly out of no-where, towards me.
I recently had a conversation with Dani Venn, a celebrity chef who holds the dubious honour of been voted out of the Masterchef kitchen twice, both times whilst holding an immunity pin. Dani’s journey in becoming a self-taught chef gave me great insights into her creative process under pressure. I loved that Dani’s secret sauce was to be a bit quirky.
Our discussion was a catalyst for me to think about boundaries in creativity. In a self-directed creative process, or when you are leading a team, boundaries for time, scale, medium and theme of the project are essential. It is time, the deadline, that is one of the defining boundaries in Dani Venn’s Master Chef experiences.
I think of creative boundaries as the Goldilocks and the Three Bears of creativity. The boundaries need to be not too broad or not too tight. …
My father wanted to be an archaeologist but was given no choice but to follow in his father’s footsteps and study engineering. After retiring from a successful career as a local Government Engineer, he completed his Masters in Archaeology. He also took up painting and writing. He continued to volunteer for Local Government Engineers’ Association and Vinnies, but he never let any of those things define who he was or was not.
On the Common Creative Podcast this week, Chris Meredith and I interview Camille Woods, a young, social media entrepreneur who successfully mixes a career as an accountant with being both a yoga and meditation teacher. She explains that this unusual combination helps balance her mind, her body and her soul. I am inspired that she has started out in a very traditional career but has not let it defines her. …
Some ideas just pop. Others just fizz out.
Some ideas just pop. Others just fizz out.
This weeks episode of The Common Creative is Creative Fermentation. Chef Garry Flynn shares a story of his entrepreneurial adventure in making Elderflower Presse (soft drink). The thing about Garry’s story was that it, in the end, it was one tiny element blocked the soured the project.
Ideas often need times to incubate, but sometimes when you are brewing up a new project, fermentation can have unwanted consequences, as Garry found out.
I know from bitter experience that the best-laid plans, both literally (given a career as an architect that is not to be unexpected), and metaphorically, can become unstuck due to unforeseen circumstances. …
Do you remember the feeling you had when you raised your hand in class to make a suggestion? Or the very moment when you posted a love letter and the envelope dropped into the postbox? When you pushed the button for your first (and maybe every) social media post? It is the feeling you get when you first show someone a drawing, or share an idea, or build up the courage to suggest your view in a meeting. It is when you hold up both your arms and say, “Look at me!” The feeling is hard to describe, but I think that almost everyone has experienced it. It is not simply fear, though it can be debilitating. …
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
When I was very young, one of my treasured possessions was a little telescope. It wasn’t powerful, but it was an exquisite, small object. It came in a little leatherette hard case with red velvet inside. And inside the case was this little silica gel sachet with the printed warning, DO NOT EAT.
I was always led to believe that contents were poisonous.
By the time I was in my forties, keeping the weight off was a constant fight. I am an ‘all or nothing’ personality type… the reason for my weight gain in the first place, and the subsequent rollercoaster of diets and weight loss programs. …
Years ago, friends of mine had a very successful cafe in West End. One of the owners told me that Sunday was their best trading day, but it was a nightmare. Customers were fighting for tables, hungover or still drunk, abusing the staff and complaining about every little thing.
So they made the tough decision to not open on a Sunday.
There was a massive outcry from the customers, but within a month they were back to their same trading figures, and in the end, everyone was happier.
In a similar vein, the most successful chicken sandwich shop in the USA, Chick-fil-a, founded in 1964, adopted a no-trading on Sunday policy. …
Last Monday, I started the week by painting an aubergine, the humble eggplant. Over the years, I have painted this unusual vegetable many times, continually amazed at the depth and changeability of the colour. At times almost black, but then a deep bluey purple and at other times, a crimson-purple, and always sort of iridescent.
One of my favourite quotes from Albert Einstein is:
“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no-one else has thought.”
As one of the critical aspects of creativity is looking at things differently, and the humble Aubergine is excellent to study as it does half the work. …
Most people would agree that ambition is an essential trait in today’s society. However, recent events have shown that sometimes other factors come into play and can challenge our ambitions.
Richard Olivier, the son of the famous actors’ Sir Laurence Olivier and Judith Ploughman, had the ambition as a child to be the greatest actor in the world. But one morning having a morning cuppa, he realised that he couldn’t even be the greatest actor in the family kitchen. Olivier Jnr accepted this reality and changed his ambition. …