Mind-Mapping to Find an Idea

What is a Mind-Map?

Mind-mapping is a way to brainstorm – you think of words related to the problem you want to solve, or an idea you want to expand on, and you branch off of that word with words relating to it.

You can choose to approach mind-mapping from a stream of consciousness – not hindering the flow of words that you think of; or you can choose words carefully, making sure to organize and group words together.

The words resulting from mind-mapping can then be reviewed to see what words lead to new ideas. Maybe some of the words need to be the focus and a new mind-map created.

To make a mind-map, use a large sheet of drawing paper in landscape and start at the center with the focus word. From the focus word draw branch lines out to other words. The other words – subtopics, are related to the focus words.

Sometimes as you are mapping an idea may come to mind – take down the note on a separate sheet of paper quickly – don’t spend a lot of time on it – it’s more important to continue the mind-map.

Using a Mind-Map to Create My Own Joseph Cornell Box

So I wanted to use mind-mapping to crate my own Joseph Cornell box. The possibilities of what to create are endless – a steam of consciousness mind-map will let the ideas flow and maybe another to organize the words I choose to help arrange the objects?

When I think of the way Joseph Cornell assembles his boxes, I think of the theater – it was one of Joseph Cornell’s passions to attend theater and he used it in some of his boxes. In the theater are characters (objects, animals, or people), the stage (sometimes with different acting levels), scenery (other objects not the focus but as complements),  and a backdrop (background) all used to create a mood or central theme.

So I thought for my box I would use a juxtapose of a forest theme and an office environment. I created two mind-maps, one for a forest and one for an office. Since it is a free-flow kind of thing – other ideas came out that might influence the mood.




Joseph Cornell

Object (Abeilles) 1940

Do you know of Joseph Cornell? I’ll try to describe him for you. He is an American sculptor, collagist, and filmmaker who lived from 1903—1972; I think his most successful period was between 1935 through the 1960’s. He was a unique kind of sculptor because it was almost like he created these other world, theatrical scenes – a shadow box was your proscenium theater, found objects were the actors and the scenery, and parts from books and magazines – plain or collaged, was the backdrop. People did like to label him a surrealist, but he shunned that title.

Collector of Found Objects

You could definitely say he was a collector. He collected found objects from book stores and thrift stores of New York, he collected experiences attending ballet and theatrical performances, and he collected knowledge of the people he admired. As he created his art, he collected his own ideas, feelings, and processes. He balanced his responsibilities of providing for his mom and brother by having a regular job – at first as a salesman, but eventually as a textile designer and a magazine layout artist. But somehow he found a second wind to create shadow box worlds, collages, and avant-garde films to satisfy his creative needs.

Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery 1943

Want to know more?

If you want to know more, you should explore Lynda Roscoe Hartigan’s Peabody Essex Museum microsite http://www.pem.org/sites/cornell/# , this will inspire you “to pursue uplifting voyages into the imagination.” There are lots of other places to learn more about him, but I really like the feeling they evoke in the discovery.