Email to My Boss

On Creativity, Hot Metal, and the Eccentric Use of Personal Development Funds

Date: May 4, 2016
Subject: Personal fund proposal: welding
Sender: Jenna S.

Hi Alia!

I would like to spend a portion of my professional development fund on a welding class at the Dept. of Spontaneous Combustion (DSC) at the American Steel Studios in Oakland.

How strange. Why welding?

Pablo Picasso once said, “the chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” Metal fabrication is a fascinating and mysterious process to me. I am striving to learn skills in metal fabrication in order to pursue creative sculptural endeavors that inspire me outside of the office environment.

And how does this help you professionally?

Jack London famously said, “you can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” As a creative professional, I find it very important to find inspiration in non-digital mediums. An understanding of shapes, forms, and dimensional qualities is critical to a designer’s education, and opens up worlds of creative thinking beyond the expected solutions.

Working in new mediums encourages creativity and provides inspiration that naturally bleeds into my professional life. When I put my energy into artistic endeavors, I find that it affects my work life in a very positive way. It lifts me out of ruts, when work becomes tedious and repetitive, and helps me think about problems in new ways to stir up new solutions. For example, if I approach a sharegraphic the same way I’ve approach every sharegraphic in the last several months, the result may be formulaic and routine. But what could I accomplish if I approach a sharegraphic like a welder? That’s a fantastic question just waiting to be answered, after I learn to weld.

Isn’t it dangerous?

To quote the great Oscar Wilde, “an idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” While there is inherent danger in working with electrical arcs that are hot enough to melt iron, I will be taught all of the proper safety procedures to safely work with hot metal.

Let me know what you think!

Jenna Steely
Principal Designer
Blue State Digital

Date: May 31, 2016
Subject: Re: Personal fund proposal: welding
Sender: Alia H.