The Muse

I feel incredibly grateful at the moment. I’m sure it sounds spoilt but at the beginning of the year, jewellery making had become very routine. I think any creative endeavour can start to feel like a job when you get stuck in the day-to-day of fulfilling orders without leaving space to explore creativity or the pursuit of other interests that ignite inspiration. This certainly happened to me. However, this enforced respite allowed me to sit down at the bench and think about what I felt a burning desire to create, free from the mind forged manacles that come from trying to run a business. I re-connected to ideas that fired me up. I re-read sections of books I love, I stayed up at night writing and found that the words flowed out of me in a way that they hadn’t in years. Memories came to the fore. I would sit on the decking in the morning with a cup of coffee and think about designs. It’s got me to thinking about where our creative ideas emerge from. It’s funny but in almost every podcast or interview with: musician, artist or poet, the same message has been expressed. They all seem to suggest that the role of the artist is to get into a place where they are able to channel something. That the creation becomes something that flows through them without any rational thought and often without any comprehension until the piece is finished. I’ve heard many different explanations for what is happening during this process. Jung believed we are summoning images and symbols from the collective unconscious (the inherited instincts and archetypes that we inherit from our ancestry). Similarly many cultures see the creative impulse as a divine force. In ancient Greece writers would invoke the muses at the beginning of a piece of writing. Asking them to use the author as a mouthpiece for their divine art. This can seem like a strange idea in a culture that worships the rational mind. But it’s interesting to see that this idea transcends the creative arts. Many of the scientists we hold in high regard achieved their most inspired ideas not through rational reasoning but through dreams and imagination. Einstein found the inspiration for his theory of relativity in a dream. Niels Bohr who first modelled the atom, saw the movement of electrons whilst napping. There seems to be something about turning off the thinking brain that allows a different perspective to emerge. For the same reason many of the innovators in Silicon Valley use psychedelics to be able to think in different and imaginative ways. I’m fascinated and bemused by the phenomenon. I don’t know what my explanation would be but I can understand the appeal to the divine. The Greeks thought that the muses brought about a rest from pain and obligation and I think this is the most accurate description of being lost in art. When in the midst of a creative endeavour we become totally present, to the point of forgetting to think about who we are and our daily struggles, it’s one of the few truly immersive experiences we can have as a human being. In this sense it’s probably one of the most mystical experiences many of us will have, in that we can totally lose ourselves, taken over by a greater force. I feel incredibly grateful to have had the time to explore this creativity and I hope some of you have been able to find that too amongst the stresses and worries that this time has brought.

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