Sunday, March 16, 2008

Where does inspiration come from?

It's interesting to sit back and reflect on what exactly inspires you and causes your ideas take tangible form.

I think some people work very hard at their craft and have a formula that generates creativity (or, at least, creations). Others are inspired by what they see, borrowing from it to create something new. Then there are those moments of inspiration - ideas that come from who-knows-where.
I don't think a single one of these describes what goes on in my head. For me, personally, I feel that it's a combination of the three.
I know my creativity is limited to a certain extent on my likes and dislikes, as well as my abilities, knowledge, as well as my medium. And it definitely has its limitations. In this sense, I'm working within a certain formula.
Inspiration also comes from around me - it may come from nature or from someone else's designs.
And then, sometimes I have a moment of epiphany. An idea, almost completely formulated, comes from seemingly nowhere!
Do you ever doodle, trying to make ideas take form? I know I do. I can't help it, but when I go to meetings at work, my notes end up being covered with all kinds of weird shapes, scribbles, and spirals. Designs that seem to have some promise get transcribed in a notebook that I keep specifically for potential projects.

Oddly, almost none of these doodles ever amount to anything. The ideas may seem promising on paper, but once I transfer them to metal or beads, they're completely hopeless.

For me, sitting down with my medium - beads or wire - and physically manipulating and playing, seems to result in the best designs.
For example, this past week, I wanted to create a new earwire design - perhaps incorporate a spiral to make something unique. So I started playing with some copper. These are exactly the steps that I took:
They didn't seem right. But I kept looking at the patterns I created. The more I looked, the more the patterns reminded me of my Unraveling Earrings. Those earrings are really nothing but swirls that become hoops. Then suddenly an idea came to me: an inside-out swirl incorporated in a hoop!
The first two prototypes were made in copper, as you see above. Essentially, these are backwards Unfurling Earrings. I was so excited with the concept that I couldn't go to bed until I transfered the design into silver:
I can't say whether this design hasn't been created by anyone else. In fact, I'd be surprised if it wasn't. All I know is that I created it independently. And, for me, that's all that matters.

(These earrings are now available at my online shop.)

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  1. Unknown said...
    I like how you sketch in copper. It would be fun to see a pair of these in action, on some real ears.
    andrea said...
    That's funny you mention that your sketches never really translate to real pieces because I was thinking of the same thing today. Very few of my pieces are results of sketches but usually from playing with wire and whatever beads I have around. I love those earrings, you do beautiful work!
    Anonymous said...
    Your notebook pages look like mine!
    I dream up jewelry designs, sketch girls and clothes and nature-y things, and sometimes just doodle. Later, it's great to go back and realize I like something I did enough to incorporate into some new thing.
    I LOVE those curly earrings of yours! I can easily imagine them on MY ears! ;)
    Keep up the great work,
    alisa R. :)
    Scott Bulger Photography said...
    I really enjoy watching others create. The process is a wonder to me.

    I, too, have a notebook. Inspiration typically strikes when I least expect it. I blogged about the same thing last week.

    "Inspiration in the Closet"

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