Deciding when the options are few

I had a comment from Taylor Davidson about waiting to make decisions. (Thanks for the nudge, Taylor) and it got me thinking about when fewer choices can actually be a nudge to creativity.

Years ago some friends and I put together a big art show in honor of the return of Haley’s Comet. We were lucky to get space in the Maryland Science Center in the entrance room to the planetarium.

In order to have some kind of unity in the show we decided that all the submissions would be framed in the same 15×15 contrast gray Nielson frame.  And the mat colors could be black, gray or navy blue (as I remember).  If an artist wanted to produce a piece bigger than 15×15 they could do it but only in the standard sizes.  I did a piece that was made up of four blocks in a line.  Someone else did one in a four square.

We hung the show in a sort of checker board fashion but with some blanks spaces in the over all final display.  Sorry to say, I don’t have any pictures of the final show.

Some people complained that they couldn’t possibly work in that specific size, but others rose to the challenge.  In particular Mary Klotz tried out an experimental triaxial weaving technique. Not only did she sell the piece, but she went on to be a well respected expert on the process and sold several large scale pieces made in with that technique.  It led, in turn, to her construction of labyrinths and even corn mazes!

Not bad for a test case in a small square.

Just goes to show, sometimes fewer choices can be a very good thing.