Arts and science collaborations seem to be cropping up everywhere at the moment. After reading about the Broad Vision collaboration at Westminster University http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/mar/19/art-students-find-beauty-in-science, it seemed appropriate to be heading to my studio the following day bearing not only traditional artist's materials, but also more unusual substances like filter paper, microscope slides and Windolene! My art thrives on experimentation. There's nothing like the glow of pleasure when an experiment goes well and turns up an unexpectedly beautiful outcome. And happily that is just what happened. Things are looking interesting so far in the world of Material Interventions, backing up my belief that just because something comes with a set of instructions it doesn't mean you have to follow them. Just because its called Windolene doesn't mean it has to be used for cleaning windows!
Alongside my own arts practice I run workplace training and team building courses for businesses. One of the things that I find surprisingly prevalent is the difficulty staff in various large companies have with lateral thinking and thinking outside the box. Have we all become so obsessed with following rules and doing things the 'right' way that sections of society are losing the ability to be creative? As an artist I am privileged to be able to spend some of my days following the paths of my brainstorming sessions to their conclusions; if I have a great idea in the middle of the night I can get up the next day and work to make that idea a reality, and in doing so, who knows what other great discoveries or lucky accidents I might find? And that's the basis from which my training sessions evolve. Creative challenges = thinking differently = workplace improvements.
Similarly I practice what I preach within my own work. I set myself a challenge, in this case defined by my goals set out in my Arts Council grant application. Using unusual materials in non-prescriptive ways means there is no rule book for me to follow, and thus I'm forced to think differently and experiment to produce results. This I hope will drive my practice forward to create things of beauty which have never been made, or even conceived of before.