Mixology

Mixology – the use of Mixology Creative Techniques – is the first step in Glanside creativity.

Mixology techniques are designed to generate creative ideas at speed.

A new, creative idea is only of use if it can be sorted and moulded in such a manner that it becomes a possible solution for the establishment or further development of a creative work.

Mixology Techniques are designed to generate new creative ideas.

Cultivation Techniques are then used to promote the growth of a creative work by sifting, organising and augmenting these creative possibilities identified in the Mixology stage of Glanside Creative Thinking.

This article describes some of the core Mixology Techniques. It describes how these Mixology Techniques are used and illustrates how the ideas generated from Mixology are sorted, ready for building into creative work with the help of Cultivation techniques.

How do the Mixology Techniques work?

All creativity moves from the Specific (the subject of interest that is being analysed through creativity) to the General (the new creative ideas coming out the Mixology stage of creative thinking).

The Specific Idea is the material, concept, theory, understanding etc. that a creative work is analysing, and from which the creative work is intended to be built.

The following illustrations of Mixology Creative Techniques use the novella The Tailor as the source of these specific ideas.

The illustrated Mixology Ideas are used to generate general creative ideas that build on the described specific ideas.

Mixology Techniques tend to cascade: that is the general ideas generated from the use of a Mixology technique can be further enhanced by bringing the next mixology technique into play.

The greatest number and quality of ideas will be generated through pursuing several, consecutive Mixology techniques.

Cultivation techniques can then be employed to screen, organise and develop new ideas from Mixology, in such a way as to establish or extend a section of creative work.

Mixology Technique: Hook-Ups

The Hook-Ups technique is similar to the Link-Ups technique, but is designed to search out more creative approaches.

In the Link-up you start from the problem using connecting ideas to reach out in a selected creative direction

The Hook-up consists of starting from some point away from the problem and then searching for connections back to the specific creative requirement.

The Hook-Ups Creative Technique generates new ideas (words, themes, concepts etc) that are unrelated to the specific problem being addressed. (Mixology Techniques can help in production of these general creative ideas).

These new ideas are then hooked back onto the specific problem being addressed – which means that a connection is forced between these new general ideas and the specific ideas being developed in this creative work.

With Hook-Ups more contemplation is needed. The ideas generated can be far more creative: but in order to be useful to the creative process they need more interpretation.

For instance: if we mix two random words – abstract and summit.

Then think through: –

  1. What is this trying to tell me?
  2. Where can this idea lead?
  3. What new possibilities does this idea give me?

What is an abstract-summit? What does abstract-summit signify? How does the term abstract-summit relate to the creative problem ? What sort of person, event, situation etc could be described as an abstract-summit?

Illustration of Hook-Ups

In this illustration a number of text passages are being developed to add creative depth to different sections of the The Tailor novella.

In each of the following simple examples, two random words ( Mixology Technique Random Words) have been selected and forced together to create a new, potentially-exploitable idea.

The combination of these random words is then used to imagine a connection – a Hook-Up – back to a specific section of The Tailor.

Cultivation Techniques can be useful in the enhancement and extension of a Hook-Up in order to create a passage of text relevant to the section of creative work under construction.

The Tailor – passages develop using Hook-Ups

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Random words: Index Portion

Hook Up (imagined from the idea Index-Portion):

The first step or exploit in finding some means of answering a problem.

Phrases derived from above Hook-Up:

With her dream of ‘fashion design by successive alteration’ now at risk, Anjali gave herself permission to do those things that only become conceivable when one is facing failure.  

It was in her ‘Geometric Form and Perspective in Dress’ workshop in the town hall annex that Anjali met Eileen, mother of three at home and personal assistant to the Factory Manager at work.  The names of Anjali’s workshops were designed to appeal to those Townspeople either prepared to consider radically different perspectives on dress or, at the very least, with a curiosity driven by pressing need.  Eileen was prepared, pressed and in need.

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Random words: Card Rifle

Hook Up (imagined from Card-Rifle):

A highly targeted solution delivered in a written form.

Phrases derived from above Hook-Up:

The Chairman of the Wetledale Weaving Company looked down at the drawings and careful descriptions that Anjali had sent to him, in the form of a personal letter with important documents enclosed, delivered by courier.  

He splayed the garment designs across the oak of the table top, his eyes scanning over the coloured sketches and the highlighted words in the various descriptions. 

‘I thank you for the copy of the designs that you used at our last Board meeting.  It was an extraordinary thing to send these to me; and I see they are accompanied by your notes explaining almost every stitch.’ 

There was a mantlepiece clock on the bookcase at the back of the room which, Anjali suddenly noticed, was ticking, fast, like a heartbeat.  

‘I am very interested in your designs, Anjali Darji,’ he said, taking her full name from her business card. 

‘I have to tell you that I was not really a supporter of keeping the Wetledale Mill open.  I was unconvinced of the long-term possibilities of the place.  But the Factory Manager’s presentation to me was reasonable; and I wanted the unbiased view of the whole Management Board.’ 

Mixology Technique: Randomise

Randomise Uses Random Words, and also Random Phrases found in texts such as news, magazines, books of quotations or sayings etc.

The Randomise Technique is greatly assisted by Online tools such as Dictionaries, E-texts, Random Word generators and Word Association generators

Randomise provides a mechanism to add different levels of creativity to a work in development.

A Random word or Phrase can always be linked back to the Specific Idea being examined in the creative work, using a Technique such as Link-Ups.

Alternatively random words and phrases can be mixed together and developed to generate new creative direction to a work.

At a basic level, Randomise uses the mixing of ideas – which can be linked (or forced) back to your creative work-in-progress – as is used in the Hook-Ups Creative Technique.

However Randomise often goes much further than Hook-Ups.

Randomise has the potential to generate a new creative direction – or taken to the extreme Randomise is a technique capable of establishing a completely new creative work.

How does Randomise work?

In Randomise you establish a mix of random ideas, and then look for creative solutions that bring these ideas together to produce useful creative work by think thorough:

  1. What is this mix of ideas trying to tell me?
  2. How can these ideas be developed into a creative solution?
  3. What new possibilities do these ideas give me for the creative work I am developing?

The temptation is to link the ideas back to a work-in-progress too soon.

You should view the first mix of ideas creative through Randomise Technique as kindling that can be developed into a large creative fire.

The Randomise Technique has the most to offer when the new ideas are given time to develop into something in their own right: which can be added back to the creative work-in-progress once they have grown into a standalone creative solution.

The use of Cultivation Techniques can help to discover the potential of new idea mixes coming from the Randomise Creative Technique.

Illustration of the Randomise Creative Technique

The following passage from The Tailor was developed using the Randomise Technique as shown below.

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Random words:

  • Ensure
  • Scream
  • Continuance
  • Fear
  • Catalogue
  • Process

Random phrases:

  • Their citizens overthrew the elites who monopolised power
  • Pretty well nobody thought this was the source of prosperity

Random quotation:

It comes as a great shock to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance has not pledged allegiance to you.

Derived passage from The Tailor:

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Panya had regained her poise and was back on script.

‘You are being pulled out of shape by your ambition,’ she said deliberately but serenely.  ‘There is no foundation to this work.  It can take us nowhere.  You have made our tailoring subversive.  This obsession has corrupted you like a fungus.  It is rotting away the base that we have worked too hard to fasten in place.’

Anjali was thrown.  Panya was always measured, rarely direct, and never this direct.  She drew breath, and then with her words snipping like scissors, she said, ‘The past you repair, Panya, the future you design.  If I could just stitch courage into your backbone we could fabricate something so colourful, so beautiful, here in this drab valley.’

Panya was now on her feet.  She would work to the pattern – or at least as closely to the pattern as this unfurling affair would allow.

‘The role of the Tailor is to sew comfort into the world,’ she said with a rehearsed delivery. ‘If your fashion leads to this outcome of so much upheaval and conflict, what is the good of it?

Mixology Technique: Cascades

The Creative Techniques Cascades takes a Specific Idea and applies more precise descriptions to produce a range of general ideas from which creative work can be structured and developed.

How does Cascades work?

Expressions and/or words that clarify the chosen Specific Idea are identified. A creative text or other creative work is then developed using these clarifications as a starting point. The result is a number of creative solutions that can either be further developed of discarded according to the needs of the creative project.

Illustration of the Cascades Creative Technique

The following passages from The Tailor were developed with the help of the Cascades Technique as shown below.

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Specific Idea:

Change

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Cascades of more precise descriptions of the Specific Idea:

  • Alteration
  • Refashion
  • Refine
  • Progression
  • Betterment
  • Improvement
  • Advancement
  • Performance
  • Movement
  • Breakthrough
  • Promotion
  • Getting ahead

Passage from The Tailor built with the help of Cascades:

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‘Every customer, of course, is different,’ said Anjali to her uncle over a cup of masala chai in the shop’s tiny kitchenette.  ‘Yet there is a common thread that runs through every one of them.

In the humblest person, I often find there is a need for progression and change.  The belief that life is a succession of alterations and improvements runs deep beneath the damp skin of many of the purchasers who rush into my shop in the middle of another winter storm.

Consecutive alteration is like a river that flows finally into design. Every alteration is an act in the fashioning of a garment but broken down into smaller steps. Small steps should be taken towards a tailored look and feel to a garment. Clothing should be fashioned by alteration. It will become a far better fit for the role it is playing, through the refining design of each consecutive alteration.

Alteration becomes a journey and not just a service.  Clothing design becomes a process of successive alteration, consecutive steps in the dance of what the designer can create and what the customer will wear.  The customer and the garment will blend like cotton and wool, each promoting the performance of the other.’ 

Mixology Technique: Perimeters

The Creative Techniques Perimeters takes a Specific Idea – that is embodied in a sentence – and then changes words that are defining the perimeter of that sentence. This redefining of perimeters generates ideas from which creative work can be structured and developed.

How does Perimeters work?

A sentence that sets out a chosen Specific Idea is created. The words that define the perimeter of this sentence are underlined. These perimeter words are then amended, being replaced by other words that change the meaning or intent of the sentence. The new sentence so created is used to generate general creative ideas. The result is a number of creative solutions that can either be further developed or discarded according to the needs of the creative project.

Illustration of the Perimeters Creative Technique

The following passages from The Tailor were developed with the help of the Perimeters Technique as shown below.

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Sentence that embodies a Specific Idea:

From family visits to her uncle’s home and business, she knew that clothes were her friends.

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The following words are used alternately to replace the perimeter words underlined in the sentence above.

  • Knew
  • Learned
  • Discerned
  • Experienced
  • Friend
  • Playfellow
  • Collaborator
  • Intimate

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Using each of the Perimeter Words above in turn, the following restructured sentence can be created.

From family visits to her uncle’s home and business, she discerned that clothes were her intimates
From family visits to her uncle’s home and business, she experienced that clothes were her playfellows
From family visits to her uncle’s home and business, she learned that clothes were her collaborators 

The general ideas suggested from the above revised perimeter words were developed to produce the following passages of The Tailor:

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She sneaked away from the body of the family into her uncle’s workshop, where sleeves and collars and cuffs and bodices reached down to her from mannequins and workbenches.  It was a captivating circus of texture and colour and sound and feel. 

Anjali helped in her uncle’s business as soon as he felt she could be trusted amongst the needles, scissors, and the unforgiving sewing and pressing machines.  Her uncle taught her how clothing is structured, how it can be treated, fastened and stitched, and the nature and needs of different fabrics.