This quote by Tapio Wirkkala is high on a wall in the Design Museum in Helsinki. (Wirkkala was one of Finland’s most esteemed and prolific designers; perhaps his most recognized design is the Finlandia Vodka bottle that looks like ice.) In two sentences, he captures the central operating principles of creating just about anything: the “chance” and diversion from the original intention that are often involved… that materials themselves inspire, motivate and guide, what Anni Albers called “the dictation of the materials” (“listening to that which wants to be done”).

Here are some images of his work  (and big fat examples of his quote):



…and some more  detailed info about Wirkkala.  A slide show of some of the Design Museum’s permanent collection gives a very rough but good overview of Finnish design. 

Do you think that this kind of “listening” to materials can be cultivated, that a person can make a practice of it, and become more actively creative? 

Related Post: d-i-y anni albers necklace

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