My dear friend, Gavin, recently posted me a letter (via snail mail- oh I love snail mail!) This “bricolage” of a letter contained a Photostat of a book he recently read: The power of Limits” I love the following bits and pieces from this Photostat and would like to share it with you…..
“There is a French word, ‘bricolage’, which means making do with material at hand: a “bricoleur” is a kind of jack-of-all-trades or handyman who can fix anything. In popular movies, the power of “bricolage” is symbolized by the resourceful hero who saves the world with a Swiss army knife (sounds like McGyver) and a couple of clever tricks. The “bricoleur” is an artist of limits.
We see “bricolage” in small children, who will incorporate anything into their play – whatever piece of stuff is lying on the ground, whatever piece of information they picked up at breakfast. Dreams and myths work in the same way; in dream-time we take whatever happened that day, bits and pieces of material and events, and transform them into the deep symbolism of our own personal mythology.
These magical acts of creation are analogous to pulling a large amount of rabbit from a small amount of hat. As the greatest known form of magic, organic growth and evolution, the output is greater than the input. There is a net gain of information, complexity, and richness. “Bricolage” implies what mathematicians like to call ‘elegance,’ that is, such economy of statement that a single line of thought has a great many implications and outcomes. In the same vein, Beethoven, writing of his favorite composer, Handel, felt that the measure of music is ‘producing great results from scant means.’ Beethoven crafted his own music, to an amazing extent, of nothing but scales……Antonio Stradivari made some of his most beautiful violins from a pile of broken, waterlogged oars he found on the docks of Venice one day.
In the same way, to a child’s imagination a twig is a man, a bridge, a telescope. This transmutation through creative vision is the actual, day-to-day realization of alchemy. In “bricolage”, we take the ordinary materials in our hands ant turn them into new living matter – the ‘green gold’ of the alchemists. The fulcrum of the transformation is mind at play, having nothing to gain and nothing to lose, working and playing around the limits and resistances of the tools we hold in our hands……
The artistic attitude, which always involves a healthy dose of “bricolage” frees us to see the possibilities before us’ then we can take an ordinary instrument and make it extraordinary.”
The power of limits, Free play pg 86
So lately the ‘muse’ called Bricolage came for a visit, and here is an attempt, still in progress….