Creating Things that Matter

Creating Things that Matter is the 2018 work by David Edwards; on the dust jacket Edwards is identified as a creator, writer, and educator. Until this book, I was unfamiliar with the man or his works, and the many examples of his creative endeavors introduced me to field in which I have no experience. Edwards begins with the premise “the world has changed” and the ways we used to create no longer meet out needs. Whether we agree with that assessment or not matters little as we approach his concept of aesthetic creativity and endeavor grounded in passion, innocence, empathy, intuition, and obsession.

As an educator interested in heutagogy, this intrigued me. Central to Edwards’ approach is the Creator’s Cycle. In his three phases, we see how one becomes a creator.

Creativity begins with ideation; creators identify and refine the idea that will focus their work. This sure seems reasonable; educators understand the importance of interesting and relevant problems. Without these, nothing much happens. “What happens when we don’t have an idea?” is the approach Edwards takes. Innovation and understanding the problem as others understand it and collaborating with other creators to define your idea are approaches to certainty what matter for Edwards.

Once the idea is clear, creators begin working on the idea or solving the problem. It becomes a teacher for the creator who learns deeply about the problem. One of the most important lessons one learns is the extent to which they did not understand the problem. Aesthetic creators are open to the lessons taught by the idea and problem and adapt to their deeper understanding.

The final stage of the Creators Cycle is the exhibition. This is the product of the creative work. The field need not matter. Aesthetic exhibits are not created for economic purposes, although they may lead to profit. For an idea and action to be creative, other must be able to experience something they could not previously. This is the value creators add to the world.

book cover