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The process of Creating and Making

The hub cap I found

The hub cap I found

This last week I have received some great e-mails.  This post is not so much deep analysis like most of the ones I post, but more about having fun creating and making things. It is also an example of my reply back to Michael about the process of creating and making.  (Not a good example, but kind of a funny one.)

I divide the process up into three parts.  I have been trying to come up with some good words that sound like the way Jesse Jackson, Woody Guthrie and  Arlo Guthrie talk to describe this.  Something like “Inspiration, frustration, calculation,frustration…. etc.)… I need a good “tion” word for construction that ends with the “shun” sound.   Anyhow, back to the subject.   The three parts I divide the process into are Mind, Body, and Spirit, but not in that order.

First comes the idea.  Where does it come from?  I don’t know but somehow, some way it just hits.  It could be a labor saving idea, or it could be something completely new.  Somehow it just pops into my head.  This can be art, or building something or anything.  Often in my case it happens while I am driving, or walking or working in my garden.   I have never been able to force an idea, it always happens when I am doing something mundane and my mind is wondering.   My mind has been doing a lot of wondering lately.   This is the opposite of “focus”.  This is the spirit part.  This is the part often discussed about left brain vs. right brain.   That gets into religious and philosophical discussions best avoided by me on this blog.

The second part is the mind part.  Lately that is what this blog has centered on.  Thinking through the process of designing whatever it is that you want to create.  I have been teaching some concepts and skills to assist you in thinking through those problems.  The “left brain vs. right brain” people put this part of the process in the other half of the brain as the previous part.

The final part is the body part.   We captured the idea and we have put it on paper, but it still is just lines on paper until we actually build it.   This is where a whole new set of skills come in.  Teaching our hands and our hands controlling tools to actually take raw material and make our masterpiece.

Obviously the process does not cleanly break the three parts as I have written it.  Each of those areas involve using the mind and creativity and your body using skills, even if the skills are operating a computer to do CAD or to write a document as I am doing now.

Ok, now on to the silly picture and story of a dumb, and quick project, but it will probably give you a few snickers.   A few years ago I had a lunch hour… Being that it does not take me a full hour to fill the pie hole I would often walk.  There was no woods near by, so I would walk along the highway and streets.  Often I would find little artifacts of modern living.  Things like lost hubcaps, car emblems, nuts, bolts, etc.  usually things that had fallen off cars.

Anyhow, one day I found a hubcap laying in the ditch.  It was a cheap one, the one in the picture, plastic, the kind you can buy at Walmart.   I thought it might make an interesting clock so I carried it back to work.  Once I got there I discovered it only had 10 spokes, not the 12 that necessary for a clock.  But, as I looked at the spokes, they had an interesting shape!  Being the kind of person I am, I decided to hang it in my office window.  Heck… I am just that kind of person… something unusual.  It should be shared with the world.  Within the day I was asked to take it down.  It was not professional enough for an Engineering Office.
I think I have said it here before, but I have a little bit of love-hate relationship with technology.   I find it very interesting, but at the same time I question our use of it.  It seems as if it has become an en-slaver of mankind instead of the promise to free us to have time to be free to create.   (I grew up watching all those newsreels showing the beautiful world of tomorrow which is now today.)

That night I wrote up an art analysis of the hubcap and hung both on my wall of my office again.   Many of the words are made-up words but it sounds intelligent.

This is a fine example of Post-Industrial Neoimpressionist Art. Godlike man and his safe sanctuary represented by the silver center of the circle. Man, the center of the universe. Man, the creator of his machines. Man, being carried along to his destination by the whirling strong spokes encircling him. Man, safe from the darker circle of outside forces… or is he?

Maybe the artist is portraying man trapped in the silver circle by forces he has created. The very machine man has created has grown and now traps him. Note the artist’s not so subtle use of phallic like spokes approaching the man, radial like spears from the great unknown. Are these conduits of external forces to the man or are they simply threats by the machine to hold the man in his place? In any case, these phallic like spokes are facing toward the man and the man has no control over them and what forces they will unleash.

I did not hear anymore about my hubcap from management which is a good thing, because next step would have cost me some money because I would have built a shadow box to display it.   Some friends in the office used to stop by just to look at it and laugh.

A few years later I quit that job and moved on.   About that same time I got interested in gardening.   My very first idea was to plant sunflowers in a circle and I decided to make the hubcap into a windmill and put it in the center of the circle.  I had the junk posts from building a fence around part of the back yard to keep the dog in so it was all constructed from junk.   I modified the hubcap by cutting one side of the black part and folding it back to form something similar to fan blades.   The whole assembly worked but it did not work well.  The spokes were not aerodynamic, and I did not do a very good job on the bearings, but it worked.   I left it up for a few years until my gardening grew to where I needed that space and I got tired of  having to dodge the guy wires.

The hubcap as a windmill

The hubcap as a windmill

The hubcap windmill is shown here. This was the last year for it. I had a chicken wire cone around it to act as a trestle for cucumber vines.   One of the intended ideas never did get completed.  I thought serious about making it into a giant sundial.   That will bring us to something related to the electrical theory.


It is my sincere hope you got a few laughs out of this post and my lampooning myself as well as all of us “engineering types”.    Tomorrow we will “get back to work”.


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