Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

As a part of my teaching practice, through the blog Drawing Connections, I share with my students a variety of references from the field. Creativity, communication, invention, and design innovation are the broad thematic blog categories.

Entries in creative education (4)


Woven Beauty Forms: Paper Weaving

This is a photo (by Kiyoshi Togashi) of a simple paper weaving technique, known as the 14th Gift, Woven Beauty Forms, developed by Friedrick Froebel, and pictured in Inventing Kindergarten, a book by Norman Brosterman.

Friedrich Froebel [1782-1852] is best known as the inventor of the kindergarten system, an educational method used a while ago to teach children between 3-7 years old. “Inventing Kindergarten is the first comprehensive book about the origin of kindergarten, a revolutionary educational program for children that was created in the 1930s by charismatic German educator Friedrich Froebel. Froebel’s kindergarten was the most successful system for teaching children about art, design, mathematics, and natural history ever devised. Kindergarten changed the world, and this book tells the story.” – Diane Ravitch, author of The Troubled Crusade: American Education 1945-1980, and former secretary, U.S. Department of Education. See, Inventing Kindergarten, by Norman Brosterman.

In the 1840s, Froebel designed a number of geometric toys, he called "gifts," as a part of his educational system, some of which include sets of blocks, stick work, rings, net drawing exercises, paper weaving, slat work, joined slats, paper interlacing, and peas work.

Upon close inspection, and with some investigation, it can be argued that Froebel’s work was incredibly influential and important to the worlds of art and architecture. As examples, upon becoming familiar with Froebel’s Gifts, see the works of any of the following artists and architects, then decide for yourself if there is a connection:
Wassily Kandinsky
Paul Klee
Frank Lloyd Wright
Piet Mondrian
Georges Braque
Le Corbusier
Josef Albers
Buckminster Fuller

See more patterns. Look at William Morris, famous designer in history. See a contemporary example of woven beauty forms in Peggy Dembicer’s work featured on Flicker and in a recent article in Make Magazine.

Froebel’s Gifts can be purchased today from a variety of sources,
Froebel USA being just one.

Check out the book, Inventing Kindergarten, by Norman Brosterman. Photograph by Kiyoshi Togashi.


Problem Solving Lab

"The Design Science Lab is a rigorous, hands-on training in the problem solving, planning and design methodology called Design Science, pioneered by Buckminster Fuller and other visionaries. Participants engage in a whole systems and anticipatory approach to develop strategies to solve global and local problems that is based on innovation and thrives on transparency."

The 2007 Design Science Lab Workshop will be held in New York City at the United Nations and United Nations International School from Friday, June 22nd to Friday, June 29th.

Application Deadline: May 20th


Book Review: What Painting Is, By James Elkins

What serendipity is, that is what happened to me when by chance noticing the cover of the book titled, What Painting Is, on the desk of a fellow Rhode Island School of Design colleague, Marc Torick. Thanks to him for lending it to me.

It is a very special book indeed, as it gives voice to the painter’s inexact work process, lifework, and physical relationship with paint. Anyone who paints (or used to paint), especially with oil paint, and anyone who looks at paintings with serious intent and attention, would enjoy the comparisons James Elkins makes, that of painting and alchemy.

Below are two of my favorite excerpts from the book.

“It (painting) is a kind of immersion in substances, a wonder and a delight in their unexpected shapes and feels. When nothing much is know about the world, everything is possible, and painters watch their paints very closely to see exactly what they will do. Even though there is no contemporary language for that kind of experience, the alchemists already had names for it centuries ago. They knew several dozen varieties of the material prima, the place where the work starts, and their terms can help us understand there are different ways of beginning the work. They had names for their transmutations, and those can help give voice to the many metamorphoses painters try to make in paint.”

“Science has closed off almost every unsystematic encounter with the world. Alchemy and painting are two of the last remaining paths into the deliriously beautiful world of unnamed substances.”

James Elkins, a former painter, is a Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Additional titles by the same author:
The Object Stares Back
Why Are Our Picture’s Puzzles?
Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts
Why Art Can’t Be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students
What Happened to Art Criticism
Stories of Art

Look at the book:
What Painting Is

Below is a link that includes a beautiful mindmap drawing by Elkins.
Ideas for Dozens


The Nature of Innovation

Want to learn skills for applying your imagination to real-world challenges? Discover a proven process for Creative Problem Solving? Meet diverse, international people who share these pursuits? Join the Creative Education Foundation's 53rd International Creative Problem Solving Institute 2007, June 24th - 29th, 2007, Callaway Gardens, Pine Moutain, GA.