Seeking the means to promote open-mindedness, autonomy, playfulness, unconditioned decision-making, and curiosity, I have conceived of an open system of concentrated creative problem-solving that activates the inherent creative agency in all of us. This practicum project focuses on the presumption that individuals have the capacity within themselves to learn exactly how they need to learn through self-directed and considered engagement in the physical experience of making. My goal has been to kindle the ineffable qualities of experience, as lucidly interpreted through present-minded participation in a creative activity.
Following my production of a series of creative workshops for children, and my long-term practice of designing for play, I have created an interactive art exhibit to promote creative agency. In a gallery setting, a table is stocked with ordinary materials and tools, such as cardboard, fabric, wire, pliers, and scissors, and visitors are prompted with brief, deliberately open-ended instructions for engaging with the materials to create a simple object. The “completed” made objects are then placed on shelving next to a small card on which the maker may write a title.
With my background in Design and Anthropology, I am positioning myself within a history of experiential education. Referencing educators, philosophers, and designers such as Maria Montessori, John Dewey, Rowena Reed Kostellow, and Enzo Mari, this capstone project/paper advances the idea that the making experience strengthens our personal toolbox for engaging real life. Engaging in a mentally-stimulating hands-on process reveals the immensity of our potential—it is empowering.