The Idea Thief!

The Idea Thief!

When I went away to college, I was 23. I was an undergrad finishing up my degree, but I was the same age as the grad students, so I had an interesting position during my years in college. I didn't have the need to party like the 18 year olds and I had the same social understanding of all the grad students in terms of life experience, so I tended to gravitate to them more as friends of choice for my peers.

One of the people I really liked was Ian.  He was in the grad program, doing glassblowing as his chosen study, and a very skilled craftsman.   We really vibed together so I’d often visit his studio space and hang out.   He had this book called PSYCHO CYBERNETICS by Maxwell Maltz.  It’s sort of a mindset style book and as I am a sucker for books, I flipped through it and I really thought it was amazing.  I borrowed it from his suitcase of glass tools, and took to heart reading it.

As one does, like minds think similarly so as we were having conversations in his grad studio, he was telling me how he liked to teach the undergrad classes as part of his grad program education.  He felt they had great ideas, but they didn't know how to execute them. He did not say he was an idea thief, but that’s where I coined the term.  

“They're too young to understand the concepts that they're coming up with, and they have so many ideas, poking away at things, and they don't know what they want to do, so it’s a great way to get inspiration and ideas'', Ian explained. “So you can steal ideas from them and execute them to your ability if you so choose.” 

And at first I was like, Oh, my God, Ian, that's so wrong. And then as time went on in my life, I completely understood he was 100% correct. There are people who have ideas and act upon them, and there are people who have ideas and never act upon them.  As I grow in my business journey, I hear some of my coaches and mentors speaking this same truth, they'll say, it's a God idea, or spirit whispered it to me, or a fairy tapped me on the shoulder and presented an idea.

If you act upon it and you start the process, another idea would come to you, and another and another, and the ideas would build on themselves. But, if you didn’t act upon them, the idea or concept would go tap someone else on the shoulder and give them the idea.  I love this!!  Many times I feel I was tapped on the shoulder, and an idea has presented itself. 

Sometimes I think, “oh, that's really good!”  I'll write it down on a sticky note, I'll stick it in my pocket, think about it, and execute it later as time allows. Other times, I write down these ideas and they sit on a table, get moved to the paperwork pile where I find them six months, twelve months later, and look at them and say, What was I thinking? That ship has sailed, OR that's still a good idea!  I’ve got to do it!!

That was the case with the Uglee Vase.  The time had come to make it happen!

I now have better resources to act upon these ideas that tap me on the shoulder as if to say, "bring me to life!" I also have the time to develop my ideas in a more refined way than I did in my 20’s & 30’s.  I now know how long it will take to make a body of work, to work through the concept and if I choose to bring it to market, I understand the concept of value based against cost and make smarter business decisions on this.  (Unlike the lamps we made for the Marriott hotels that we actually lost money on manufacturing...saving that story for another day.)

On last week's show, I did a sample piece, like an experiment if you will. And since it had never been done before, I find having someone else (Chris) make the piece and being able to watch the process, that I can better direct where I want the finished outcome to be.  I can think about it as it develops, I can adjust the manufacturing as needed, and observe any happy accidents that occur while crafting it.

To make a series of this work, I first had to dig through the scrap glass that we're going to recycle into our blue tank, and pick the chosen nuggets of discards I wanted.  A few things happened for me during this process that really helped define the series for me.  I had my garden gloves on and my garden tools, and as I was picking out the glass, I was looking for interesting shapes, color patterns and trimmings, things I thought would look good on the side of the Ugly Vase. 

Digging through two buckets of glass, I was able to find enough glass to make one of each of the colors I wanted for The Gathering Point show. It was a messy process; dirty, dusty, and a bit of a health hazard so I had to wear a mask which is not one of my joys in life.

Due to the nature of this set up, I decided I’m only making one of each color for the live show and these will be a part of a Signature Series of my work in the future. The idea is very cool, but not something I'd want to do on a weekly basis.

During the live show this week, I'm going to make a tall feather or maybe an exotic flower-like stem that matches each of the vases. That's the evolution of this series.  Drawing inspiration from the ceramic vase I purchased earlier in the year from a ceramic craftsman, I became the Idea Thief!!

The Uglee Vase lives in my world now!  Enjoy the process, the execution, and the finished product. I hope you enjoy the LIVE show as well!!

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1 comment

The Ugly vase isn’t ugly at all. Love the underlying color and the greens on top. It reminds me of something that you can find in the forest!

Donna Beck

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