A beautiful pattern, even with its flaws, can inspire.
“A palindrome is a word or pattern that instead of developing in different directions it folds in on itself so that the beginning and end mirror each other, that they are the same.” Todd Solondz
The word ISUZU irritates me every time I get stuck behind it in a traffic jam. I’m sure it has a memorable meaning for its market, but I see it as a word falling short of its potential. You see that the S and the Z can be written backwards, and the U in the middle is fine. However, the I and the U are not balanced. Had the owners looked artistically at the potential of the word, they might have called it ISUZI or USUZU or something that could potentially be flipped forming a palindrome. Instead, it simply annoys me.
Creative people don’t like to follow patterns, but they do look for patterns that inspire. We are often spurred onward when we are not bound.
While working through my new resolutions, I’ve been looking at patterns to inspire me for 2012. Here are a few pattern types that motivate me to create.
1. Patterns that puzzle – Tessellations, made famous by the artist M.C. Eschler, are interesting creations. Like puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly, making a nice tessellation requires a creative jolt in the brain. When forced to find a new way to make a repeating pattern, we might come up with amazing combinations. Check out the tessellations.org website and start creating your own tessellation today.
2. Patterns that work – My relative is obsessed with football. When he watches it, he believes that the way he holds his head, the position of his arm, and various other superstitions has some sort of impact on the game’s outcome. It’s a bit funny to watch except for the scary fact that he seems to believe it is real. On the positive side, though, I find that when a certain pattern causes a positive end result, we should probably give it some attention. For example, last year, I was able to complete two of my New Year resolutions for 365 days (almost there). Now, I’m focusing on what pattern made those resolutions work and how to repeat the pattern for my new resolutions.
3. Patterns that guide – I find that I often want to create something but simply have no idea how to start. This is a time when a pattern really helps guide me. Had I never used a clothes pattern, I may have never been able to produce things when they come into my head. Those basic patterns give my brain some structure and guidance. These basics allow me to build ideas and to create beyond the guides.
4. Patterns that limit – I like a project that limits me by time or by resource. Honestly, when lots of ideas are floating around in my head, it’s hard to pin one down and focus. Sometimes I love a contest that gives specific parameters. Within these limits, I can create let my brain go wild. Here’s an example where a basic pattern can explode into creative genius.
5. Patterns that break – Last night, I found that one of our nice dishes had broken. Here’s an opportunity to make something interesting. I wouldn’t want to break the dish on purpose, but now that it’s broken, I’ll be able to try a mosaic. Sometimes, we find a break in a pattern that draws our attention. That’s where our creative juices start to flow.
6. Patterns that continue – I’m a science lover because since is so often about looking for patterns. It interests me to no end that we can find a huge model like the universe and see its repetition in a tiny model like an atom. It’s amazing how nature mimics us and how we mimic nature. Patterns that continue can give us the “stuff” we need to start a new creation.
7. Patterns that are memorable – A good thing about patterns is that they often help our memory. Think of a great poem from childhood. We likely remember it because the pattern was predictable enough that our brain enjoyed keeping it around. Of course we often have to take the time to store it in our brains and then bring it out to rehearse it from time to time, but the joy of its pattern often keeps it there. Good advertising seems to base its plan around a memorable pattern. Connecting creations with a positive and memorable experience can spur us onward.
What are some new creations you are cooking up for this new year? I’d love to know. Are there patterns you’d like to use to encourage your creative juices to flow?
“I like rhyme because it is memorable, I like form because having to work to a pattern gives me original ideas.” Anne Stevenson