Home » Creativity » Creativity is improvisation … Edmund de Waal on pots, netsuke, writing and his desert island discs

Creativity is improvisation … Edmund de Waal on pots, netsuke, writing and his desert island discs

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Fig 1. Pots, Writing, Music and on being a Smarty Pants

Listen to it for yourself. What intrigued me where his thoughts on the creative process.

Edmund de Waal
Desert Island Discs
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01p067p
Sunday 25th November 2012

On describing his pots

“Rigorous but humane –  I’d like that on my gravestone if possible”.
“The rest of the world falls away”.
“The challenge is always the same, what are you going to do next?”

On a very particular recording of Ella FitzgeraldMack the Knife – forgetting the words and improvising.

Ella FitzGerald sings : “What’s the next chorus to this song now. It’s the one – I don’t know. It’s a swing song, that’s the tune … Something about Louis Miller and something about cash … tell me … ”

“This is music as it should be. This is making it up as you go along. This matters to me because this is what the experience of making things is like. That’s improvisation. That’s when when you think you’ve  got it made before you start. And then …   it all goes … it doesn’t go wrong – it goes different. And then you have to … then you’re alive. That’s the moment of absolute aliveness. Which is what music is about … and about what I do is about”.

A course on creativity could be constructed from interviews and music featured on Desert Island Discs. Like any frustrated creative I listen to this and find myself turning to a short story or a sheet of cartridge paper.

(A netsuke of the kind Edmund de Waal shows Kirsty Young, a signed piece from the early 18th century, is likely to be worth £10,000 to £12,000.).

I  prefer invention over recreation.

Others I’ve caught on Desert Island Discs include

Grayson Perry

Another potter, form whom ‘creativity is mistakes’.

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