August 26, 2012

Author Q & A: Creativity put into words

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Tim McCreight

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Q: What is your writing ritual?


A: SK: I tend to be a morning writer. My associative process is more fluid that time of day. I definitely want to write from a place where I can make leaps between ideas, and that's the best time of day for me.

Of course, I also have to write other times of day and for specific deadlines, like getting a column written. In that case, the deadline is a great inspiration. I think nothing aids a creative process like a deadline.


Q: We know you as a poet, mostly. What are the challenges of writing prose?

A: SK: More and more, I'm drawn to the short prose form. I want the work to have a flow similar to a poem, to take the reader to an unexpected place. I think the longer prose pieces can be more forgiving in the editing. I can have a poem fall apart if I can't make certain transitions, but with prose, I feel that I have more room to maneuver.

I was a poet before I came to Haystack, but at Haystack, poetry has given me a way to complement the creative processes taking place in the studios. I began to see words as a material too -- just the way a potter is in a relationship with clay. There's a give and take, a partnership. I know that has informed my writing.


Q: Creativity is not a tangible thing. You cannot buy it, cannot turn it into a commodity. Haystack encourages creativity. It begs us to slow down, tune out and look inward. I'm interested in Haystack's approach to creativity.

A: SK: While Haystack is craft-specific, it's also about materials and creative process. I think that is at the heart of all of our programs. We're never looking for finished products, but for the creative impulse that allows us to try something new, to find ourselves in a place we didn't expect.

When people come to Haystack, they're ready to make those creative leaps. They are part of a supportive community without the distractions of work, in a place that is specifically designed to foster studio work and creative expression. It's a wonderful confluence of place and purpose.

Increasingly, as with Haystack's latest involvement with MIT and new technologies, I'm seeing this creativity as a continuum. Humans can be ingenious in so many ways, whether it's using the hand or a machine. And it's creativity that joins us together.


Q: Tim, your thoughts on this? You have taught there, been there. You know about Haystack. What about that place lends itself to creative expression?

A: TM: One of the reasons to take on this project was the opportunity to work with Stu, but another reason was the opportunity to share with a larger audience the spirit of Haystack and the man who has shaped its character over the last two decades.

Brynmorgen Press is a small company known for instructional books on metalsmithing. It would be accurate to say that those books are what keep the lights on. But as a teacher and practicing artist, it has always been clear to me that the "why" of the creative process is more important than the "how." For that reason, I am pleased to have the opportunity to augment our technical books with inspirational books like this one.


Q: I am interested in your design of this book, Tim. Brynmorgen has always distinguished itself by making handsome books. What was your design philosophy for this volume?

A: TM: As a book designer, my intention is always to humbly augment the work of the author. If a reader's first reaction is to the design of the book rather than its content, I have failed. If, on the other hand, a reader enjoys the full experience of a book; if the look and feel seem consistent with the message, then I am pleased.

(Continued on page 3)

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Stuart Kestenbaum


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