Monday, 7 October 2013

Creativity and the artist

This post is sort of in response to a  quiz
you can do online where you look at a series of images and try to work out whether its art made by children or a modern artist.

Its brings me back to the post about is every child an artist as this quiz obviously shows how difficult it can be sometimes to see the difference in the product. So I thought I would explore the word artist more and discovered that back in the day in the world of the Ancient Greeks there was no word for artist - and the muses had nothing to to do with art (poetry, drama, astronomy, history etc but not art) and that in fact those who made art (on pottery, murals, sculptures etc) were considered mere workman and of low status as simply mimicers of life and not creators. The word "art" itself comes from the latin "ars" and means "skilled method" or "technique" - this all very much supporting the idea Suzanne Osten put forward that children are not artists, as they are still learning skills and techniques, but creators...


 A creator - so what is that?

Someone who brings something into being, according to wikipedia, an inventor - someone who creates something new, someone who is creative

This brings us back to creativity...
Creativity - Michael Mumford suggested: "Over the course of the last decade, however, we seem to have reached a general agreement that creativity involves the production of novel, useful products" (Mumford, 2003, p. 110). Creativity can also be defined "as the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile" or "characterized by originality and expressiveness and imaginative". What is produced can come in many forms and is not specifically singled out in a subject or area. Authors have diverged dramatically in their precise definitions beyond these general commonalities: Peter Meusburger reckons that over a hundred different analyses can be found in the literature.

So what does this mean for the child? How are they going to come up with something novel and useful? The thing is everything children are doing is often new for them and so they ARE being creative all the time - just as we are being creative when we create or solve something in a new way... sure it might be done by someone else, but your own creativity has also come to the same place!

banging plant pigment into material with a hammer

creating connections - water drops joining together to create a shiney surface - something new for the children, and applied later in other situations with the knowledge of what would happen and the skill to do that.

creating art on the ground with footprints - art without paper and paint...


creative solutions to solving a problem

creative play - testing out ideas - will a stone grow if you plant it and water it

creative solutions - if it breaks, can I fix it?

creative solutions - how to get to the water when its covered in ice - banging with plastic spades? Stamping with a foot? Asking the much heavier teacher to have a go?

creative solutions - how to transport fairies around the forest - using a hat...

creative use of the materials around them

creativity and imagination - invisible fairies to behold - creative solutions as to why we could not see them

creating a tree that can be captured in art - the creative input of a group of children to work out how this upright tree could be glued onto card...

It WAS one of the frustrating parts of doing my masters in Early Childhood Education - coming up with an idea/conclusion and realising that you had to go and find out if anyone else had though of the idea before so that you could either present it as your own idea/conclusion with references to support it (if you discovered you had come up with an original idea), or, more likely, you could present the idea/conclusion together with others who had reached the same conclusion to make the idea/conclusion stronger. It felt HARD to be creative - and yet I was being creative as I was coming to new conclusions for me and being inspired in new ways for me.

Creativity is not just drawing and painting. I mentioned this before. Creativity is needed in all areas of life so that we can thrive - and we should not underestimate the creativity of young children who are experiencing new things everyday and making sense of it and creating connections between experiences to make it all understandable and also to understand what tools are needed to progress - which skills, which techniques, which of the hundred languages will the child focus on now.

I believe a competent child has more freedom to be creative. By being aware of what they can do, and having autonomy to do that, they are more free to experiment and test things out and learn new things and be creative in their learning...

I need to stop here... I need to reflect...

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