When I was six years old, I was convinced Santa was going to bring me a Siberian husky puppy. We lived in a suburban split-level and had only ever had goldfish, so I’m not sure how I felt this so deep in my kid bones, but I was certain I was about to become a young musher. To prepare for the puppy’s arrival, I set about making a sled-dog harness. I tied different lengths of string together, then covered them in folded masking tape to make it feel like leather straps. I can remember sitting on the floor, the dust motes floating in the sunshine that streamed into our colonial-themed family room, feeling utterly content as I snipped, untangled and taped my way toward a dream.
That puppy never arrived, but a sense of self-sufficiency and creativity did. I’ve always been a maker, long before that word was even a thing. I don’t have a craft room and I’m crap with a gift-wrap job, but cooking up ideas—like my squirrel-crossing signs in third grade (to prevent road-kill deaths), or the wobbly Pinterest dresser makeover I just finished this fall, or even this magazine—has always made me feel the most deeply happy.
The actor John Cleese described the creative impulse as a tortoise that slowly pokes its head out, then snaps it back in, checking to see if it’s safe before it can emerge. What we need to do, he says, is create a tortoise enclosure—to cultivate a safe space in which creativity can flourish.
For that, we need time to do it, the space to do it, and the mindfulness to avoid the creative task completely for awhile, taking a walk or cooking dinner, to let it simmer on the mental back burner. Then our brains can really play and solve any kind of problems stumping us as we create. We need the ability to have lots and lots of bad ideas and build on them to get to better ones.
Then, we hope they land on fertile ground. And when they do, it’s pretty darn cool.
This issue we salute a host of Colorado innovators, makers and designers in our “Made for Adventure story.” It seems that something about our lifestyle and the environment—both physical and cultural—in our state lends itself to invention of the best kind of stuff to help us enjoy it, from portable meat-bar snacks to high-tech ski goggles made from plants.
Whether your idea of adventure is looking cute on a cold winter’s dog walk (or run, if it’s a husky puppy) or shooting over a cornice in the backcountry, we guarantee you’ll find some great gear inspiration—and you’ll be helping create a tortoise enclosure for future aspiring start-ups and designers.