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Stretching Creativity

What do you mean there’s no paint or glue?

A famous (or perhaps infamous) part of ReMida workshops is the absence of glue, paint, and glitter from the kit. The look of concern that crosses the faces of educators and participants when we explain this during the intro is just about universal. A key reason for this approach is to stretch the creativity of everyone involved and encourage alternate joining methods.

What, are you crazy?

Perhaps. What we’ve found, though, is that once the initial shock has worn off, a few things happen. First, people start thinking about complementary shapes and how something can join to something else. Next, the possibility of life without glue becomes an option. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes glue is the right tool for the job. But adhesives are not the only tools, and that’s also an important lesson. And lastly, you can make something visually interesting without covering it in paint and glitter.

So that’s it, you never use them?

Glue, glitter, and paint will not appear for our school and early years sessions. Alongside the creative process, these sessions aim to stretch everyone’s imagination about what is possible when you make something. There are some sessions, like Steam Punk Hats and advanced Puppet making, where exceptions are possible depending on the level of complexity tied to the session. Yet, even then, a compelling case is needed to prove why glue is the only option.

But why exclude them if it makes the creative process more accessible?

That’s a great question, and yes, the creative process is sometimes easier with

adhesives and paints. Let’s tackle the answer in three parts. First, ReMida’s creative philosophy adopts a non-destructive approach to materials. Covering something with glue and paint limits your reuse options, especially if you don’t like the creation and want to start again. Secondly, people develop many skills when those options are off the table (quite literally). Sewing, mechanical joins, understanding the properties of materials, and engaging with complimentary shapes and colours are essential skills through a ReMida workshop. Lastly, glue and paints are readily accessible in most creative and educational settings. Setting them aside for an activity or series of activities can benefit everyone.

Don’t panic, you have help.

The role of the ReMida facilitator during the session is to support everyone’s creative process. We have helpers in the session, not just for supervision ratios but also to help students solve problems. People embrace the challenge once the initial shock has passed, and we see some fantastic builds. Some builds don’t work, which can be a source of frustration for students, educators, and creatives alike. But learning happens in all directions, and unpacking why something didn’t work is often part of the creative process. The facilitator always works towards everyone being successful and creating a positive, creative experience.

A final reflection

The creative act is not just one thing. When you step outside your comfort zone, sometimes you get magic, and sometimes you get mud. Our aim is not to be different or difficult. The aim is to open the door to new creative options that align with our creative reuse and materials philosophy. ReMida education and arts workshops provide a challenging, engaging and supportive experience. And you will be surprised by where this creative journey will take you.

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