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The Creative Process according to Pip Gordon - Zer Netmouse
April 13th, 2013
11:37 pm

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The Creative Process according to Pip Gordon
In the Fall of 1993 I had the honor and the pleasure of studying Theatrical Design under Pip Gordon, probably the single best teacher I have ever had. If I could have done a theater major without having to take acting classes under a prof I couldn't stand, I would have done it. Instead, I took all the classes Pip taught and worked under her for two years while majoring in physics. Pip was teaching at Grinnell temporarily when I first arrived at Grinnell, in the place of another prof who was on sabbatical. As the end of her time approached, we requested a meeting with the administration to argue for an additional full faculty position, basically to enable us to keep her there. The original space they offered for the meeting was too small for the huge group of people who had gathered, so we literally marched in the street (and over to the student forum), demonstrating our desire to keep her on. They approved the post, we did a nation-wide search and hired Pip.

I was just going through some stuff my parents had stored for me that they gave me last year when we moved to New Mexico. In it was a huge yellowing pad of newsprint that were notes and sketches from that Theatrical Design class. I have kept a high quality sketchpad of homework sketches from the same class with me over the years, and had forgotten these notes from in-class work existed. They are mostly drawings. I thought I knew how to draw when I went to college, and then Pip taught me over again.

So I just took apart that pad, taking pictures of the drawings, separating a pile of drawings worth saving from a (slightly larger) pile of ones I don't feel the need to keep. I'll take better pictures of my favorites tomorrow when the light is better, and now that I think of it, if I come across the other sketchpad as we pack for our move, I'll photograph that too, digital storage now being as plentiful as it is.

In the meantime, I thought I'd type up and share her overview of the creative process.

The Creative Process
--Notes from Theatrical Design, taught by Pip Gordon, Grinnell College, 1993
  1. SPARK
  2. SATURATION
  3. INCUBATION
  4. AHA!
  5. VERIFICATION

Details
  1. SPARK
    *Ideas*
    - right brain
    - "What ifs" "I wonder" "How come"

  2. SATURATION
    - Gathering mode
    -- information
    -- research
    - Sink into Problem
    - left brain

    …meanwhile… right brain… …thinks…

  3. INCUBATION
    - Tension
    - Mull over Problem
    - Mostly right brain

  4. AHA! (right brain)

  5. VERIFICATION
    - left brain
    - Does it really work?

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From:quility
Date:April 16th, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
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I only took 1 class with Pip, but I agree that she is amazing. I remembered that we had protested to keep her but I had forgotten the details. Thanks for posting this! I hope you post more.
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