The idea of pseudo serendipity rooted in my mind a number of years ago after watching an episode of The Nature of Things in which David Suzuki explored the important role chance played in scientific discovery. While serendipity is defined as pure chance,pseudo serendipity meets chance with an informed mind. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin is a good example. It’s unlikely a layman would have recognized the possibilities in an accidental moldy petri dish, but Fleming’s expertise made connections that led to one of the most significant medical breakthroughs of all time. Using history, David Suzuki made a compelling case for a need to make room for chance and random exploration in current research and development practices. He even went so far as to suggest danger and missed opportunity if scientific research becomes too narrowly focused.
So what does this all mean to a fiber obsessed gal who’s first thought of a periodic table is, “mid century modern that seats six”? My gateway to the world of fiber art was rug hooking. Even my undying passion for this medium couldn’t keep me from straying into the broader world of fiber and textiles; felting, knitting, spinning, mixed media–you get the picture. I have a healthy curiosity and love to learn and try things. At times in the past, I seriously wondered if I had some kind of artistic attention deficit disorder. How could I ever improve or find my artistic voice if I was moving around in different directions? Within the scientific context of Suzuki’s presentation, the triad of the seemingly unrelated, exploration and knowledge, resonated. Initially, I embraced pseudo serendipity as a kind of validation for my scattered approach. Deeper reflection has made it a cornerstone of my own personal research and development program; engaged thinking,learning and practice, combined with time to let my mind wander and play; honing my senses for chance.
I’ve learned to trust my ways and follow my heart into new learning experiences. I don’t worry about the connective tissue or what may or may not stream into my ongoing creative practice. I enjoy taking workshops with inspiring artists when I can. These experiences allow me to stretch and build my skills, as well as, make an inviting space for random and chance to visit. I’ve come to know chance as a fleeting guest; often you can’t even tell it’s in the room until you have some know how and a few tricks to entertain it. It’s a magical moment to look into it’s face and see past moldy irregular features to it’s true beauty; a new idea or technique that can take my art making to a different place.
Pseudo serendipity is on my mind lately as more and more I’m experiencing my parallel explorations morphing with chance and cross pollination. It feels like the best possible reward for putting the time and effort into informing my mind; for doing the work; for honing my sensitivity to random possibilities. In my world, perhaps it’s more like peanut butter running into chocolate to make a peanut butter cup rather than a life saving discovery, but it’s oh so delicious.
“Chance favors the prepared mind.” Louis Pasteur
Wildfire by Diane Krys, 2012. Needle felting and rug hooking.
Wildfire by Diane Krys, 2012.
Wildfire had it’s start in a myth busting creative flurry. I wrote about it in my April post.
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