Make to know – Lorne M. Buchman

From spaces of uncertainty to creative discovery – Lorne M. Buchman


Make to Know: From Spaces of Uncertainty to Creative Discovery will change the way you think about creativity. The book upends popular notions of innate artistic and visionary genius and probes instead the event of discovery that happens through the act of making. In contrast to the classic tale of Michelangelo, who ‘saw the angel in the stone’, the artists and designers Buchman interviews for this book talk about knowing their work as they engage in the doing. Make to Know explores the revelatory nature of the creative journey itself. 

As Buchman weaves together the vivid stories of his multiple conversations, we learn about writers of all stripes as they confront creative spaces of uncertainty — ‘the blank page’; about visual artists and what they understand from the materials they encounter; about designers and architects and the iterative process of solving problems; and about actors and musicians facing the surprises of improvisational performance. 

Make to Know is a book that will, ultimately, open a path to your own making, and, in the end, will have significant implications for how you live. 

Make to Know presents a way of thinking that democratizes creativity and uncovers a process that leads to knowing both one’s work and oneself. It is relevant to anyone interested in why creativity matters.


I have been involved with the study of creativity throughout my career and in Make to Know Lorne M. Buchman presents a unique contribution to our understanding of the creative process.

Many of the artists and designers that Lorne interviews talk about knowing their work as they engage in the doing. 

He comments, “The first fundamental principle of make to know is this: We begin our creative journeys by entering uncertainty, a space brimming at once with opportunity and intimidating emptiness, that fabled blank page can be a painful, even paralyzing prospect – but according to the artists and designers  I’ve interviewed for this book, entering uncertainty, despite the apprehension it may cause, can also be empowering and ultimately revelatory. How, then do we engage with that uncertainty? Where do we find the courage to enter the unknown, and how do we do it? What does that space feel like? What happens once we’re inside it? “

While conducting the interviews, Lorne noticed that writers are particularly skilled at addressing these questions, but he also weaves in the answers from others involved in installation art, film, and screenwriting and explores what it means to enter uncertainty. 

He references the comment from novelist and poet Dennis Phillips, 

“When you begin it’s like you’re in the middle of the ocean on a raft and you don’t have a compass, so you might as well just begin to paddle one way and not the other – because you just don’t know where you are or where you are or where you are going”

Lorne also makes the important caution about the make-to-know process in general “Make to know is not about “winging it”. There is a direct link, in fact between the quality of making, no matter the medium, and the level of skill, experience, education, ethics and engagement that one brings to the work. But those are elements that serve as scaffolding on which the artist stands in creative activity to enter the unknown and the unimaginable.”

The content includes:

Framing the Question

Entering Uncertainty: Revelations of the Blank Page

Engaging Materials: Seeking the Forms of Things Unknown

Designing the “Yet to Be” Problems and Solutions 

Improvisational Making: The Flow of Live Performance

Implications for How We Live

The richness of the contributions in the interviews and Lorne’s ongoing dialogue builds on the concept of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flow’ but also give examples of how so many creative people experience the solution to a problem when they step away from it, in the shower, out walking or driving and how to capture these streams of ideas. 

He concludes by examining the implications of make to know in our lives. 

“If artists and designers and their practice of make to know can teach us anything, it is that uncertainty is a space of creative engagement. It is the space where discovery happens through a making that is both playful and imaginative……Doing and understanding. Entering uncertainty. Engaging the materials of our lives to discover. Improvising our way of knowing. All of these processes suggest the human capacity for creativity has deep relevance for just about anything we might face”

Make to Know is an absolutely fascinating book, full of insights and a major contribution to the ongoing development of our understanding of the creative process.

Highly Recommended!

Make to know 

From spaces of uncertainty to creative discovery – Lorne M. Buchman is published by Thames & Hudson