How do students get ideas? Sometimes they arrive with an idea fully formed, and just need a green light to get going on the making. Other times students arrive not with an idea, but with a willingness to engage in artistic play in order to find a way forward.
The fifth grade student who crafted this little astronaut told me the inspiration started with finding that smooth round bead. The bead, larger than most in the drawer, almost looks like it glows. It reminded this artist of an astronaut's helmet.
Alertness is the artistic disposition that causes us to notice possibility. Artists are alert for interesting materials, novel approaches, unusual ideas, and happy accidents. Artists who embody alertness are those who take a picture of the paint spill on the floor, before sponging it up, or rescue an odd object from the recycle bin. Alertness opens the door to serendipity, a phenomenon that could otherwise pass by unnoticed.