New Column at Core77: Embrace Your Staleness


Core77 has just published my latest column, which details how I generate ideas for books, furniture, tools and such. It’s free to read, as always.

Generating buckets of ideas (both good and bad) is an important part of my business. Plus, having a long list of future projects is what keeps me happy and motivated.

My methods, however, are odd. The way I generate ideas is a rejection of almost every “guide to being creative” that I’ve read.

Thanks, as always, to Core77 for publishing these columns, which allow me to stray a little further afield from woodworking.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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14 Responses to New Column at Core77: Embrace Your Staleness

  1. hgordon4 says:

    I identify with your methods.
    I think most guidance out there is written for concrete minds that need help expanding and seeing the bigger picture.
    Folks that naturally see the big picture need the opposite guidance — to go back and look for things at a more granular level; things that they may have overlooked. Sometimes those things are just details, and sometimes they are gateways to a whole new line of thinking.
    Thought-provoking as always. Thanks Chris.


  2. WildRoseWood says:

    Nicely done. Play to your strengths and reinforce them. Ignore your weaknesses. At least until your spouse reminds you to take out the trash.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Scott says:

    Chris, what is the “guide to being creative” you refer to in the blog: New Column at Core77: Embrace Your Staleness? is this a book title or magazine article? I look forward to your comments. Thanks


  4. Klaus N. Skrudland says:

    I can truly relate to many of your thoughts here, but you manage to conceptualize it so well and make it sound so obvious and clear. This was very inspiring. And Rudy’s chair made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fred Love says:

    I’ve never been particularly analytical about my process; in fact, for me, often the best way to think about something is to not think about it. You have articulated what works for me. Thanks for expressing it for me.
    I’ve only seen Brazil once, when it was first released, but images from that film come to mind often to this day, so it has certainly stuck with me. Time to look at it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fred Love says:

      Having spent the last 18 hours not thinking about my process, I realize that it feels pretentious for me to refer to it as my process. So . . . not thinking about it really works.


  6. I guess it’s back to birdhouses. Again.


  7. Rudy Everts says:

    A very interesting read Chris, I always very much enjoy your core77 columns. Nice to see your chair sculpture in a picture with an American beer! I agree with inspiration coming whilst driving, I can confirm the same happens when riding a bike. I do get some ridiculous ideas from time to time but write them all down nevertheless. If anything my kids can have a laugh after I’m gone!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Byron Heppner says:

    Go Full Sisyphus – love it. Seems to sum up the whole Anarchist approach. Forget what you “should” be building, and just go for what got you into the shop in the first place – birdhouse or Bauhaus.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. DJ Schaff says:

    Great article. For whatever reason, when I reached “drinking and designing is a solitary endeavor” I was laughing to myself thinking “maybe don’t combine the drinking with the driving” and then found that you finished on that note. Good call, but please drive carefully.

    Maybe you can relate but I find a lot of inspiration is found (for me) when something frustrates me. I then seek to find a different solution or to improve on a design. There’s got to be a better way. Blame my love for early hardcore or “punk rock” music. But this has opened many doors for learning – discovering a early solution/idea (Hi Roubo!) or by combining different ideas/solutions. Does that make my output unoriginal?

    Liked by 1 person

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