The Next Tango in Halifax – Luxury Skimming Stones

Artist, inventor and designer Dominic Wilcox came to Creative Calderdale and presented some of his unique work. He gave us an insight into how he develops his ideas and his creative work. He opened with the classic truism from Leonard Cohen “If I knew where ideas came from I’d go there more often”.

At the bottom I’ll share a link to his website as it is simply brilliant. I’m not seeking to describe or critique his work here but simply to try and pick out the nuggets and pieces of advice that he shared. I think they could help us to all be more creative. And open our eyes to see the possibilities surrounding us.

In summary he looks at things in different ways and uses the term “Variations on Normal” to encapsulate this thinking. He explained how he started doodling everyday objects – seeing what the shapes could be or convey. For example if you look at an object Dominic believes “The ideas are there, 1,000s of really good ideas, waiting to be found- you just have to look harder”. He showed us a photograph of a white chair with a black camera case slung over its back. It was unremarkable until he said the word “sheep” all of a sudden I heard it bleat!

Sometimes the briefs he accepts are challenging (e.g. “1, 2 and 1,000”) so you have a quantum leap. He encouraged us that even if an idea seems ridiculous, still do it because you never know where that may lead.

His skimming stones take an ordinary, free and enjoyable activity and identify an aspect we don’t often consider. He explores the anticipation of skimming the stones and this reminded me of going to night football matches. Standing on a terrace in awe of the fantastic bright green of the flood lit pitch, framed by a dark crowd waiting in growing anticipation. It could be the best game that I would ever see and the anticipation would build as the teams came on and the crowd responded.

Dominic set himself the challenge of developing 30 ideas in 30 days – that target and pressure pushed him to create. He had to persevere – we need to keep trying because, after all, necessity is the mother of invention. Enough words from me why not create some time and see if you can develop a new dance: