John Fisher is an uncommonly good sculptor. He carves stone blocks of marble into soft flowing female forms that delight the eyes and inspire the soul. Last weekend during the Stone Symposium in Gualala before a spellbound gathering of onlookers he carved a dull block of pitted limestone into the form of sitting nude that almost came alive
John now feels he is at the very peak of his profession as a sculptor. He has developed his skill to a level that he can properly execute his craft effortlessly. He knows he can bring into being any form that the stone calls out to be released.
He and I were talking last night about creativity. I couldn't help but think how it related to dry stone walling. Early in his career a professor at art school shared with John that 'all creativity was an act of desperation'.
John said if you make the same thing you know you can do again, even if its good there is no real creativity happening. Its when you throw yourself into a desperate situation carving chunks of stone of your block and commit yourself to finding a form in the abstract shape that remains that the creativity kicks in.
Good dry stone work is an act of creativity. It can't be just reproducing something you're good at just because its safe and has worked in the past. Just because you have conquered what the material required of you in the past if you don't feel you are stretching to do something beyond yourself you will not be taken up in the creative act.
Creativity involves risk. There is no formula or standard way of making it happen, especially if you are good at what you do.