Snails, Spirals, and Slime

I serendipitously bumped into The Creative Independent, a website powered by the good folks at Kickstarter, but doesn’t scream or boast about it’s affiliation. It’s a profound website that’s filled with thoughts, philosophies, ideologies about the creative process and design.

The most profound section for me was the notes section on the essence and evolution of The Creative Independent. It was written by Laurel Schwulst and I found it riveting and worthy of everyone’s attention. Let’s start with growth as an individual person:

Things of value take time to grow, and their living evolution can be an integral part of their beauty. When is something finished, anyway?

Spiral, The Creative Independent

I’ve always hated mathematics but this section on Spiral, their symbol, is the most philosophical rendering on a shape. Ever.

We like spirals because they’re about circling back to a core idea over time, something all creative people must do to create whatever it is they’re creating. We think Julia Cameron, in her self-help book The Artists’ Way, puts it best:

“You will circle through some of the issues over and over, each time at a different level. There is no such thing as being done with an artistic life. Frustrations and rewards exist at all levels on the path. Our aim here is to find the trail, establish our footing, and begin the climb.”

Spiral, The Creative Independent

And here’s a perspective on Snails… yeah, those slimy creatures. But there’s a take you wouldn’t have known. I sure didn’t until I read this…

Snails are slow. Their only method of movement is flexing and releasing tension in their powerful stomach muscles, which happens to be a very slow process. We admire the snail’s slowness. We like to think this slowness helps it better navigate on its self-proclaimed journey. If a snail told you it wanted to be the “Wikipedia for the creative process,” would you believe it to follow through?

To protect them from predators in their slowness, snails carry a shell. Snails are born with this shell, which is at first very tiny, colorless, and soft. It gradually grows with the snail’s body. Researchers say you can tell the approximate age of a snail similar to that of a tree, simply by counting its rings. French poet Francis Ponge described snails’ shells as “part of their essence” but at the same time “a work of art, a monument,” which “lasts longer than they do”. Snails and artists don’t simply produce masterpieces, but make masterpieces out of their very lives. And this is why we study their slime.

Spiral, The Creative Independent

You definitely should read the entire page for a deeper context. And while you’re there, do sign up for their daily newsletter.

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