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Who says you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?

Reblogged from annehart:
Sacramento Latina: When the One Universal We Have in Common Divides Us - Anne Hart

Yes you can turn a sow's ear into a purse that feels like silk to the touch. While teaching a creativity enhancement class for writers, I handed in a paper reminding students how some scientists could turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Invention for writers is one way to think out of the box.


The purpose in revealing this to creative writing students of mine when I taught university-level courses in writing many years ago focused on showing students how to re-purpose one tangible or intangible thing or concept into another so that everything that began with stardust eventually becomes, turns into, or moves beyond a work of art, craft, or business, science, nature, or technology.


If a suit of clothing eventually becomes a cloth-covered button or a story becomes a published books, or paper recycles into compost to grow a tree once again, then the basics of everything moves in a circle to shift into another form, including creative ideas for writers. That's one form of thinking about creativity enhancement for writers or inventors in a wide variety of fields.


Who says you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? When teaching creativity enhancement for writers and artists, the purpose and goal is to question everything tangible and intangible, including your own ideas and decisions. Think for yourself.


If it isn’t broken, break it, then improve it, and only when the benefit is greater than the risk if the improvement is necessary. Some universal values don't need fixing, such as being polite, smiling, and treating others the way you'd just love to be treated.”


Here's an example of thinking outside the box that may be of value to writers seeking to enhance creativity.  It turns out in 1921, a Boston chemist obtained a batch of female pigs’ ears from a slaughterhouse.


According to a clipping I read many years ago from the newspaper column “Dear Abby,” all you have to do was to reduce the ears to gelatin by cooking them down and spinning the ears into thread using a machine that spins gelatin into thread.


Now you can take out your loom, crochet, or knitting needles and weave or knit the thread into a purse. In fact, that Boston chemist wove two purses, and one of the purses is still in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American history. So much for science class for creative writers looking for fresh ideas that aren't so new after all.


Read the information about the chemical experiment to turn sows ears into a silk purse, and see a photo of the purse made from the sows' ears at the website, "MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections Report: "On the Making of Silk Purses from Sows' Ears," 1921. Or see the website with the report at: https://libraries.mit.edu/archives/exhibits/purse/.


Yes, you can create art and/or various tangible items from many different types of materials and media. And the intangible and tangible both come from seeing through to completion an idea, image, or story.


On the other hand, not much of a purse can be made from only one sow's ear, of course, maybe some short length of silky thread that perhaps may or not be long enough to be woven a few inches in length to sew on a button.


It took a lot of sows' ears purchased from a slaughter house to weave that purse. If those hundreds of sows sent to the slaughterhouse to turn their ears into chewing exercise for dogs or to provide pickled ears in jars for some human gourmets -- could speak, surely they'd tell scientists to please make purses out of plant-based woven or silk-worm produced threads, and leave their ears for listening.