Even if you don’t know what a pandabunny is, your brain thinks it does. Your brain is awesome that way!

Tell me about pandabunnies. Are they panda bears with bunny ears? Bunnies with black and white fur? Or maybe bunnies that belong to pandas?

Two is one

So here we have panda bears, we all know what those are. And we have bunny rabbits, hoppity hop. We also have your brain, which is a wizz at something called conceptual blending. Simplified – MASSIVELY simplified – conceptual blending is an insanely creative process where you mind takes two or more distinct things and blends them together to make a new thing. This means we can take a human, add some spider venom, and create Spiderman.

Get Brangelina to Bollywood

In fact, English is jam packed with blended words. Smoke + fog = smog.  Chuckle + snort = chortle. Glamourous + camping = glamping. Labrador + poodle+ labradoodle.  Why? Because language is a living, breathing, infinitely creative thing.

Blend it, shake it, spread it

Although blending happens so fluidly that it’s as normal as breathing, it is something you can consciously practice to get your creative juices flowing. Try:

  1. Mixing and matching to make new words. It’s eleventy kinds of fun.
  2. Imagining blends of different animals. Go on, give the pandabunnies company.
  3. Creating visual fusions from unlikely pairs. Imagine barbed wire with butterflies for barbs. What would your flutterwing wire be used for?

Part 1 of, well, more parts on conceptual blending and creativity, and my obsession with the work of  Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner.

The stunning featured image is by Calavara Officialness at http://calavara.com/?p=971 . Go check it out!