I went to a meeting with a web consultant in advance of my company’s web redesign project. Kind of a “call everybody in and get a sense of what they see with the website.” The consultant had tchotchkes to play with (to get people to relax and open up) and we did a post it note exercise about the website’s strengths and weaknesses.

One of the tchotchkes was this stuff called pearl putty— a pretty blue, pearlescent version of Silly Putty. After I had exhausted the value of one of the other tchotchkes, I started playing with the Silly Putty. My thing right now appears to be repeating simple patterns. I started making little balls, and stacking them like cannonballs, then futzing with the stack to create other shapes— bringing the sides of the pyramid-shaped stack together and ending up with more of a pinecone-shaped thing.

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Then, I started making a daisy shape, but kept layering little skinny petals until it was more like a chrysanthemum— more of a pom-pom shaped flower. But it stuck to the paper I had made the daisy on, so it was ruined by the time I pried it off. So then I started making rose petals and layering them. I was basically done making a rose when the facilitator stopped talking (I was paying attention and chiming in pretty frequently, just keeping myself occupied in the interim) and called out my little sculptural adventures, saying that I was definitely the most creative person she’d ever seen with the putty, and a bunch of my coworkers chimed in that they’d been watching me, too. She says most people make snakes.

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I was embarrassed that they all called me out, but pleased that they liked what I was doing— I was impressed with what I was coming up with, but I wasn’t trying to distract others or show off. I can’t say I’ve ever done anything really sculpturally interesting before, but I liked the idea of taking a simple pattern, repeating it for complexity, and then finding something interesting or beautiful from it.

My coworkers insisted that I take some putty back to my desk and say that they expect to see me do cool things with it. It melts into itself with time, so I think their idea that I’d make something to display every day means that they’d come, see a flattened out whatever, and lose interest pretty quickly. Kind of strange and random, but a more interesting outcome from a meeting than I had expected. The facilitator asked me if I was an artist on the side. I didn’t tell her that I did just finish a rockin’ vision board, just smiled and said “not really” but thanked her for her interest.


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