I made the point, in my previous ShopNotes post, that a large part of what makes a person very successful – really, in any endeavor – is the ability to generate original ideas that are good. You’re not going to be hugely successful just re-doing what someone else has already done; you must be original to really stand out and be really succesful.
I am trying to be more and more original in my woodworking; I get these little lightbulbs going off for an idea for this design, or that design, and it seems to be a very good idea – however, getting it from that initial vague idea to a finished product is very difficult – at least for me – and I’m a very creative person.
For instance, I’m trying to design a new mantle clock, in the Mission/Craftsman/Arts and Crafts style. It’s been very difficult, because you have to retain the hallmark style of this genre – straight lines, few curves – yet try to do something different as well, instead of the usual horizontal or vertical rectangular shape. Your only options with the dial face is either round, square, or if you dare, rectangular. I want this to be a mainline product, so I want construction to be pretty simple, and have a basic shape that I can them just ornament differently for different styles.
It’s making me a bit crazy.
I’ve looked around – a lot – for inspiration, and have found very little.
Then, there is trying to create a new piece entirely, in terms of a new piece of furniture, or for what I’m thinking, a table-top piece. It’s something people can use to remember others by; a kind of altar / photo holder. It would be something very different, and have sentimental emotion tied to it, which is never a bad thing for a product you’ve been trying to sell. That idea has been in the slow cooker in the back burner of my mind for a couple of years now. I’ve tried working it up in Sketchup, and free lance building a little prototype, but it’s just not there yet. It’s like a new stew I’m trying to create, but don’t have all the right spices for. I know it’s out there, somewhere in the land of dreams, and I’m trying to grab a hold of it, but it remains elusive.
The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.