I love creating things, whether I'm developing a TED talk, hosting a conversation series for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, giving a talk about creativity, throwing a tea cup, creating a Peabody Award-winning radio show, or cooking dinner.  My first book, Spark: How Creativity Works, is published by Harper and is released as an audio book.  And please check out my podcast series, Pursuit of Spark! There you'll find conversations about creative approaches to the possibilities, challenges, and pleasures of everyday life.

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 Photo by Pavlina Perry


My Spark Talks continue this season at The Met in spring 2015, with a series I'm very excited about, exploring words and images in ancient and modern art and design.  More information here.


Four lessons in Creativity at TED:

Loved leading a workshop on uncertainty and giving a keynote on creativity at Days of Communication Croatia in May.  Wonderful participants, fascinating stories, and a beautiful setting in Rovinj.  

Thrilled with the recent Spark Talk at The Met on April 30, exploring the way artists play with time, with wonderful guests -- musician Laurie Anderson; Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me; astrophysicist and art historian SeungJung Kim; and Met curator Melanie Holcomb.   

It was a pleasure to give the keynote at the Clifford Symposium at Middlebury College.

Mitch Joel and I had a conversation at TED about creativity, which you can hear on Mitch's Six Pixels of Separation Podcast.

Big Think asked me to speak about creativity for three short segments.

Webcast of my talk for educators at the Smithsonian.

My thoughts about creative struggle in SGI Quarterly.


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Today's blog -- Four lessons in creativity.

Pursuit of Spark: conversations about creative approaches to the challenges, pleasures and possibilities of everyday life


"Like falling in love"

The architect Steven Holl studied in Rome as a young man, and fell in love with the city, and with the Pantheon.  He told me about his experiences in this ancient building when he was one of my guests for Spark at The Met.  His story was so evocative that I asked him to tell it again for Studio 360:


 Steven Holl also mentions his beautiful design for the Nelson Atkins Museum.  Here is his watercolor sketch for that collection of buildings -- he creates all his designs in watercolor, and paints every morning before he goes to work.  


A tragedy, a mystery, a revelation about how memory works

Wendy SuzukiOver the past few months I have had the wonderful opportunity to explore a world that was completely new to me -- neuroscience.  I've been working with neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki to create a new podcast series called Totally Cerebral for Transistor, a new initiative from PRX.  I have loved learning about the creativity that is at the heart of great discoveries.

In our first episode, Wendy talks to pioneering experimental psychologist Brenda Milner, who in 1957 completely changed how we think about learning and memory.  Brenda studied the famous amnesic patient HM, and the story is a tragedy, a mystery, and a revelation about how memory works.  I'm thrilled to share it here:

Brenda Milner


Exploring dualities

  In her art, Miya Ando explores dualities -- one of her favorite forms is the kimono, fluid and feminine, which she makes into armor, formed from thousands of squares of anodized aluminum. I met Miya in her studio, where she told me stories about growing up in two cultures, apprenticing to a swordmaker in Japan, and fixing cars in California.

Miya will be one of my guests for a Spark Talk on December 2 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I'm eager to talk with her about armor, along with Met curator Pierre Terjanian and Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton. To see more of her work, visit miyaando.com.


Ideas that Spread; Dressed to Kill

I'm thrilled to announce this fall's Spark Talks at The Met, on December 1 and 2!  More information about the talks and how to get tickets here.

On Monday, December 1, we'll explore ideas that spread -- from the 16th century to today.  This is connected with a new special exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of tapestries, books, and paintings by the Renaissance master Pieter Coecke van Aelst, whose art was sought after by the most discerning rulers in 16th-century Europe, from Henry VIII to the Hapsburgs and Medicis. As his ideas spread, the artist changed and shaped his world.  That's a photo of his beautiful Eve from his series of tapestries about Creation.

In this SPARK conversation, Met curator Elizabeth Cleland will talk with me about this Renaissance entrepreneur.  And we'll be joined by best-selling author Seth Godin, whose books and talks have inspired millions (including me!) and who is an expert on how to spread ideas in the 21st century. 

The next evening, I am excited to be talking about arms, armor, and art with Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton, who will give us a behind-the -scenes look at how she creates the intricate armor for the Lannisters and Starks; artist Miya Ando, who will tell us about the influence of her sword-making ancestors on her 21st-century stainless steel kimono; and Met curator Pierre Terjanian who will offer an intimate glimpse into the Museum’s popular Arms and Armor galleries. 

I hope you can join us!  



Sound, Space, and Awe

Last month, I had the pleasure of talking about music, architecture, and awe with the architect Steven Holl, neuroscientist Robert Zatorre, and musician and theologian Peter Bouteneff.   Our inspiration was the music of Arvo Part.  It's just been announced that Arvo Part and Steven Holl are both being awarded the Praemium Imperiale!  

You can listen to our conversation, in which neuroscientist Robert Zatorre explains how music can engage the reward system deep in our brains—the same system that responds to food and sex; Steven Holl describes making spaces for music, and shows how music influences his work; and Peter Bouteneff talks about the thread of spirituality that weaves throughout Pärt’s masterpieces.