The Journey Into Design

Escaping the Grind to Increase Creativity and The Word’s Smallest River – The D River

Escaping the Grind to Increase Creativity and The Word’s Smallest River – The D River

The D River at Sunset - Oregon Coast

I took the above picture while vacationing with my wife along the Oregon coast last summer.  It is the mouth of the D River, the world’s shortest river.  Now some people try to claim their drainage ditches are the world’s shortest river, but let us be honest, if beauty is the tiebreaker, this view is hard to beat.  I also grew up in Oregon, so I am going to side with Oregon and say they have the world’s shortest river.

The structure on the right is the restaurant my wife and I ate dinner at that evening; it had a beautiful view looking out over the beach, and a great wine list.  We had walked there from our hotel, so naturally, after dinner, we had a nice walk back, where we had to walk over a bridge crossing the D River.  It was late evening, not quite sunset, but the sun was low in the sky.  I stopped in the middle of the bridge, looking out over the river and ocean.  I told my wife this would be a great picture if I were lower and standing in the middle of the river.

So I decided to jump over the guardrail and climb down over the rocks, my wife said, “You’re going to hurt yourself climbing down there,” urging me to come back.  She was cold and had no interest in my antics, and started to walk on.  I continued over the guardrail despite my wife’s concerns, and down the steep hill lined with sharp rocks to take the picture.  About halfway down, it became clear to me how good the wine list at the restaurant was, as I may have enjoyed it to its fullest potential.  I slipped on the rocks, stumbled, slid and skidded down to the river’s edge, somehow tearing a portion of my skin open.

I look up at the end of the bridge, on the other side of the river to see my wife standing there with an “I told you so” grin on her face, also detecting a since of annoyance coming from her aura.  I jump over to a small outcropping of rocks to get as close to the center of the river as I could, squatted down, and took the photo.  Now I’m not that great of a photographer, but sometimes I get lucky with an ok shot, and I think this photo captures the essence of how beautiful the evening was.

It is these experiences, which release the endorphins in the brain, triggering our creative self.  Without these moments, I think creativity would stagnate.  The arousal stimulates the imagination and gets us out of our regular daily grid, leaving us to contemplate new projects and new ideas.

Whenever I take a break and go on a trip, I feel refreshed and re-energized when I get back. I make it a point to visit art galleries in whatever area I am in to see new things and new ideas.  The Brain is a complex organ but has a simple function of garbage in garbage out, cool creative things in cool creative things out.  I never look at these things to copy them, but to see what they spark in my imagination.  These things are the jumping-off points to new ideas, new adventures, and new creations.

Sitting here following the Governor’s orders to stay at home to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, I can’t help but wish I was able to take a trip to someplace beautiful, to reignite my creative juices.  Nevertheless, since that is not possible right now, however, I have found ways to break the monotony.

(If you are reading this in the future, never forget and wash your damn hands)

Sitting quietly, and meditating, does wonders, along with just listening to music without my phone nearby. Always feeling the need to pick up my phone to scroll through the fear-mongering of the news sites, and friends that need to express their every negative thought on Facebook is a challenge.  So to combat that, I put my phone in the other room, start an album on the old school CD player, and just sit in my recliner, in the dark and contemplate about things I want to build.

The ideas have been flowing, and the planning process for new projects have begun.  If you have an idea of something you want to commission me a build, please tell me about it on my custom furniture page.  Many businesses have shut down to practice social distancing, but since I am a one-man shop, I was social distancing before it was cool, so it’s full speed ahead.


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I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.

Thank you for reading my blog.

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