Well, I’m back from my stint in Catalonia, and staying with my mother for a couple of days. While out in Nottingham buying thank you cards for all the people who deserve to be thanked after the conference and the trip to Perafita, I stumbled upon this wonderful stuffed bird.
I have a guilty secret which is that I love the new generation of stuffed animals that you can now get for children. I love the realism of them, and the way that they use fabric so cleverly. So, Christine, here, has a wonderfully repulsive head made of pink towelling-type fabric:
And surprisingly ratty fur fabric for her body. I saw her across a crowded shop and it was love at first sight. I even took her to a country park as we were walking the dogs to take some action photos:
The other reason that I love her so much is a bit more academic. One of the stock definitions of creativity is the bringing together of two things which currently exist in the world to bring about something new. So, good old burrs and tweed trousers to bring about velcro, that sort of thing. I like the combination: child’s cuddly soft toy and reviled scavenger, harbinger of death and notoriously ugly bird equals Christine. It reminds me a bit of Alf Rehn’s lovely book on creativity Dangerous Ideas in which he talks about needing to connect with unlovely things sometimes if you want to be truly creative. It’s not just about loveliness. Ugliness can spur creativity too. So, Christine will find a home with a rather strange stuffed lucky fox a student gave me and my Frida Kahlo stuffed doll in my office. And two stuffed dogs. And some gonks. And my stuffed college cat. I begin to see why one of my students once called it a teenage girl’s dream bedroom. She is lovely, though.