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  • Writer's pictureandrew wood

Bright Stem - Creating a new Environment for Working Across Multiple Disciplines

Hello everyone this is Bright Stems new blog. I needed a new space to start writing again. I'll warn you all right at the start of this experiment that I'm dyslexic. So there almost certainly will be spelling and grammar mistakes. I'm particularly good at mixing up their and there. It doesn't seem to matter how many times people tell me which is which I almost immediately forget! It also takes me an age to write anything as it has to be re written a 100 times over before anything makes sense. So the posts might be a little sporadic. But I've decided not to let any of this put me off writing. As long as you can get the gist of what I'm saying; that's the main point of language right…. to communicate ideas.

So lets start this new blog with a little story. Lets go back to a time when I was still wearing flares and was living in the south downs countryside. Nope its not the 70s just the 00s. I'm nearing the end of my time as a student and going for meandering walks through the surrey countryside whilst I work out what comes next.

Andre Wood in flares contemplating the creation of Bright Stem

I'd decided that I wasn't going to do a PHD. It was the obvious next step my practice and theory had been around Postmodernism, Romanticism and Interdisciplinary Arts. All big buzz words within academia. So I knew I could do very well expanding upon what I had been doing and the idea that the boy who finished school with a D at GCSE English could go onto do a PHD was reason enough to do it. But my gut was saying no. What was key now was to develop something that put my ideas into practice.

Bright Stem Logo early scetch.

I didn't have a name for this something yet but the logo was ready (see image above) and I had a loose idea of what needed to happen. I knew I had to develop a creative environment in which I could showcase new bright, bold and engaging projects, products and artwork that would be developed through a process of cross pollination. One project in a certain discipline (say sculpture) leading on to another project in a different discipline (say print/product design). The visual similarity between them making it obvious that they where developed one after the other. My thinking at the time being that this would then enable more people to see why we need to develop interdisciplinary ways of creating things.

So that's what I've been working towards since then and its working. By that I mean the work created has managed to capture peoples attention and imagination and proved that a interdisciplinary business can flourish. The products made are popular and sell well giving me the financial and creative freedom I always wanted. There is however still a large mountain to climb. Whilst I was right that the artwork and products are the key to sparking peoples interest they alone can't alter the discourse which surrounds them. For example people have a constant need to define what it is I do by my practice i.e. am I a sculptor, a graphic designer, an illustrator etc. The obvious answer is to say that I'm a interdisciplinary artist and designer. But this will inevitably be met by a look of absolute confusion or read as being indecisive. The conversation often taking a path that implies I keep changing what Bright Stem is about because I haven't really decided yet. The problem is most apparent on social media where people become fixated on ever more niche interests making my feed (which could jump between wrapping paper, space rockets, ethics, abstract expressionism or music videos) completely baffling to many people no matter how similar the designs/artwork might be.

But what I have found is that once an in-depth conversation does begin walls can be broken down. Enabling new and exciting conversations to take place. So if I'm to develop Bright Stem as a interdisciplinary creative business where projects can both be understood in there own right and as part of a wider pattern of exploration. My original thoughts (when I was meandering around in my flares) require a slight adjustment. Its not a question of choosing between a whole thesis on interdisciplinary practices or creating art and products. Its more a question of expanding upon conversations that are already taking place. To create short posts that explore the work I'm creating and the thoughts/conversations that are happening alongside them. Thereby helping to broaden and enrich the discourse surrounding creativity and interdisciplinary practices in general. So that I might help develop a more productive discourse for myself and others to work within in the future.

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