When uselessness is…useful

Years and years ago I wrote a blog post about table runners. I’d been making a bunch for Christmas gifts and wondered really what they’re for.

Turns out they started with a useful function and now they’re mostly decorative with no practical purpose.

And practicality, or needing to spend time being useful, can be a huge block to creativity and our creative practice.

This week, I recorded a short little podcast episode (ten minutes or so) on the whole idea that sometimes our focus on wanting to create practical things – things that we can use or sell or that make a BIG point or connect with others.

Wanting to make something that achieves a goal or helps us achieve one of our goals can stop us from making anything at all since we’re so focused on the product, the end result, rather than the process.

The creative play and insight, the art and ideas, the FUN happens in the process.

And what if you created art merely because…its fun?!?

Allow yourself to go there (yes, you have time).

When I finished recording this episode, I googled something related to this topic and stumbled across this video of Simone Giertz giving a Ted talk. She has proudly risen to the TOP of her field of inventors of useless items.

She makes some KEY points about creating stupid things because she removed all expectations and allowed her self to creatively play.

And while she’s talking about robotics and engineering, it’s all the same thing: creativity, play, releasing attachment to the final product, to a specific answer. 

It’s opening up to possibility.

It’s allowing.

It’s PLAY.

The irony, of course, is that creating useless things is actually super useful for diving into and developing your creativity.

Think of it like a playground – no purpose other than to see what happens or what games get played. There are no rules.

We get to decide what we write, what we create, and how we share it.

It doesn’t always have to be purposeful or practical. And sometimes, getting to our best ideas requires that it’s not.

To creating perfectly useless things,



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