Have you ever started to create a new dish for supper only to realize it wasn’t going to be salvageable unless you did some “thinking out of the box”? Have you ever created a greeting card or a painting or a sketch or some jewellery or … and discovered it was a mess as it was, and you were going to have to “think out of the box” to salvage/redeem/fix it – or discard it?

What about those times when … well, fill in your own blanks.

I’d been playing with art deco roses inspired by Charles Rennie Macintosh lately, and decided I was ready to turn practicing into making a card. I had fun making it, but when I stepped-back and looked at it, I realized that it was cluttered. It looked terrible. Really – a mess. So I put it on the mantle and looked at it from various angles. And then it hit me … because of the card design, I could “cut” out the bottom right hand corner of the card. But then what? What a strange-looking card that would be. So I began to extend my thoughts ‘outside the box’ and realized that I could write something on the inside of the card that would be visible from the front of the card. I’m sure others have intentionally created such a card, but I’d not ever seen one, so it was a new possibility for me.

But I wasn’t finished. What would I do with the image that was on the front of the card that was making the card look so cluttered? I could discard it or I could cut out the image and put it on the inside of the card. So I cut – and cut – and cut … reducing the original ‘mess’ until all I was left with was a single rose and a little bit around it.

At first, I was sure that the card was going to be a discard, but then the thought came to me: “I think it’s now salvageable.” And that got me thinking again. Thinking about other things: artwork, sewing projects, meals, political situations and yes, even personal relationships. Things, situations and relationships that at first glance I think need to be discarded, not salvaged. But maybe – not completely?

The world seems to be in chaos these days around a variety of issues … like the environment. Are there ways politicians can “think outside the box” and help create possibilities of life for future generations or is the world and its inhabitants going to disappear? When it comes to personal life, how often do we keep our self-critical voice alive with “this is a mess” – “this isn’t salvageable” – “this is …” type of thinking, when it comes to our creativity or even our personal relationships? And what can be done about it when we find ourselves in such situations? Working on the card, I was reminded (again) … do not give up … consider possibilities … think ‘beyond-beyond’ – aka “think out of the box.” Another day – another lesson learned. And this time, a simple handmade greeting card became my teacher.

© June Maffin