In this chapter, Whitaker uses the analogy of “to build a house" as a framework for understanding one’s economic challenges within the creative world. There are constraints, limits one has within a market for their work. And these are challenging to each type of art form. She shares there are two kinds of creativity - "the writing of a letter and designing the envelope.” While the writing is making an object, designing is creating the structure within where the object exists. Each of these requires "material resourcefulness” as the author defines as “the ability to adapt a material to an unexpected purpose by focusing on its first principles.” She gives an example of a Robert Pirsig’s scene from his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where the character’s does not have the part to repair his broken down motorbike, uses a beer can. He does this first by seeing it as a potential resource to fix his bike. Whitaker again uses several examples of other businesses adapting this concept to build a sustaining business model for their craft. Such as with Warby Parker, taking on the major eyeglass company business model of using others as a distributor, Warby Parker became their own distributor, taking out the additional costs of the expense to provide affordable eye wear. Not only did Warby Parker write the letter, they also designed their own envelop by not following the current business model. She gives an overview of variable and fixed costs, as well as how these impact imagination, with a deeper understanding to two other categories within these costs. Transaction and Opportunity costs of imperfection and imagination. She ends the chapter with a review of several problems that arise within the business of creativity. One of the seven examples is with externality, where one’s time is seldom factored into the cost of doing business.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Art Thinking for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.