Walking through a pathless woods, the possibilities for playful exploration are endless. Everything you come across you are discovering for the first time, every rock, tree, the layer of dirt on the ground is a new experience. Because the forrest is dense you are never sure what is behind the next tree. The sky starts to grow dark, the trees seem to close in on you. You begin to panic when you see a light. You start running through bushes and branches suddenly you are out of the wilderness. You are saved, you have found the light.
In this scenario, one has to trust their instincts. There are no rules and no boundaries. I believe this is where creative confidence begins: in a state where one can run wild and constantly find new experiences and ways of interacting with the environment.
I lived across from woods for most of my life. But in the daily routine of going to school there has always been very little time for totally free exploration like walking through woods, interacting with nature. I believe that we go to school to learn how to have conversations with other people, above all else. Just as we are curious about the world when walking through the woods, we bring curiosity to conversations when we engage our peers.
In building my creative confidence, the greatest tool I have received are the people around me who have conversed with me with the most trust and joy and open-mindedness. We seek most to react and be reacted to. I was lucky to live with a learning community in my freshman year - a program called Living Arts - which takes students from different ‘making’ disciplines and places them in the same dorm. Above all, this program gave me the chance to collaborate with others because we shared a space that inspired play. The lounge area below the dorm rooms for Living Arts is a large room with a projector, work tables, and portable white boards. More importantly, the room has many comfy chairs that are on wheels. For anyone new to the lounge, the first thing you do is push yourself across the room in a chair. This action instantly marks the space as a playful environment. Equally important were the resources of the ‘back room’, where art supplies and various tools were kept. Having access to these resources invited us to use the space for whatever creation we desired. At the end of the year, as a part of a group of four I put on a found object art gallery and performance piece in the lounge. The exhibition came out first from the found items my roommate and I had collected. Having these objects as inspiration filled me with creative confidence because of all the possible combinations we could create with them. Similarly, we used objects as inspiration for our performance, using the objects as a bridge between each other, a way to creative dialogue between us, through our interaction with the objects. We rehearsed the performance twice, both times totally improvised, and relied heavily on our connection with each other and the use of the objects to create the work. We asked for everyone to ‘bring out your ladders’ for the event and received about 50 ladders from dorm rooms to build a set for the gallery and performance. By having an engaged community, a variety of materials to work with, and a group of people ready to talk and listen to each others ideas, I was able to create an event with confidence and high creative energy.