Saturday, March 8, 2008

Inspiration - It's a long one!

Where do you look for inspiration? Of course, it's all around us and for me, as well as for you, I'm sure, it's always changing. The internet, for me, is loaded with inspiration: from intelligent, well-written, colorful blogs, to educational websites and tutorials, to podcasts, to Flickr images, there is an abundance of inspiration out there every day.

For the most part, I truly feel that, in some ways, my days are buoyed by these things available to me. For me, the amount of art, craft, and design that I can now see and hear and talk about on a daily basis is something that was lacking in my life previously. I think that my be one of the reasons for the popularity of Ravelry, craft, and art blogs. In the past, unless I was able to go to a museum or gallery or take a class, I wasn't physically able to be around an artful culture.

While I made for myself an artful and creative life, I often found myself hungering for someone else to inspire me. I've always been a bit of an anomaly, I think, to some of my friends. We are the ones - homeschooling, vegetarian, environmental... colorful, etc. - that people would kind of tip their heads to one side and say things like, "Oh... well, what do you eat then?" or "What will you do about socialization?" or the very common (and fitting many a situation) "Ohhhh... that's interesting..." I never begrudge people their curiosity, it's just that oftentimes I felt like the curiosity. :)

But now... now I don't. There are those who would smirk at the idea of online community. They say things like it's virtual and not "real," as if there are no real people on the other end. But for me, who has often felt like an island in my "brick and mortar" communities, my online connections are meaningful because so many people can simply relate. And because of that, my "islandness" in my "real" life has become that much more tolerable. I do not feel as lonely in my need for connection with folks who can talk hours on end about the lovely, squishiness of yarn or the great color in a photograph or the way light is captured in a painting. I can do that at any time; not just on rare occasions. In fact, because of places like, I have gotten connected with people in my own OFFline community and now enjoy a weekly knitting night at a local coffee shop.


I love images and get quite inspired by a splash of color or a new angle of looking at something. I love the way light changes everything throughout the day and how looking at something mundane through the lens of a camera or the eye of an artist can elevate it to something of beauty. I love that people can do that... and that we do.

Around my house, I like to see those colors and images that lift my mood and so there are places around my home where I can enjoy them.

One place is my inspiration board. When I posted the photos of it on Flickr, a friend said,

"What a great idea. What do you use them for? Your paint or your photography? Amazing colors and love the collection/shell boxes!! What a great idea!"
and I replied,

"Oh, they are just images and colors that strike my fancy. I rotate them in and out. I don't use them for anything specifically, but I begin to see patterns that emerge that help me. For example, I've really latched on to the blue, brown, and green color palette, I've noticed, and so those are the colors that I'll use when I paint my laundry room in the next couple of months (when I find the time!) I have a postcard of a favorite painting from the Ringling Museum of Fine Art (the blue Mary there) and an inspirational poem. There's a picture of a hairstyle I like as well as favorite family photos. Sometimes they are just things that I just want to let my eyes rest on - if that makes sense. I cut out many many images from magazines and use them in my journal. I am able to look at them from time to time when I look back over everything, but there are some images and photos that I've taken that I just want around me because they are so very "now" for me. Perhaps they are not things that I would want to have framed - like the shot of the little stuffed owl I liked in a toy store I visited - but I just want to see it. So, mostly, I guess it is a small reflection of the present "me" and the board changes as I change. Thanks for asking. :) "

I also like to keep a rotating "gallery" of photos on the fridge in acrylic sleeves that I found on sale at Target. They were all in one long strip, but I cut them into thirds and backed them with magnetic tape.

We also have a gallery of our own rotating artwork in the dining area in the kitchen.

These are a few things around our house, but inspiration comes from everywhere and is always changing. Here are a few sites and sounds I am currently finding inspirational:

More inspiration boards: Inspiration Boards

A supremely inspiring video of an artist who creates dolls and jewelry using only her feet!

Gennine's beautiful art blog.

Be Creative Every Day.

One of my new favorite podcasts: Stitch It!

... and an old favorite: CraftyPod
(btw, CraftyPod is simply a great site, even if you don't want to listen!!)

Okay. I have so many more, but I won't flood you with links!

Thanks for hanging in with me if you made it to the end of this post! I guess the topic is something near and dear to my heart and I just had a lot to say! Have a wonderful and inspiring weekend!


Lori said...

thanks so much for your mention of the blog - it is an outgrowth of the flickr inspiration boards group, which you may also know about! :^)

meghan said...

Thanks for the link! and for the advice on the composting! i'm going to check with my city/county and see if they have a composting program!!

Marianna said...

First I love your new header! Second, I love your inspiration board idea...I can see one on the wall in the laundry room!


Creative Life Studio said...

Terrific, Marianna! They are fun to have! I look forward to seeing yours.

Kelli said...

That is what I think is so neat about the internet and the blogging community. The ability to meet other people with common interests. My MIL is on a forum and has been talking to someone for quite some time. They realized that they live in the same area and met for coffee last week!
Your inspiration board is a wonderful idea and I love how your have your fridge photos in protective sleeves too.
P.s. It's funny you should mention my powder room, it's next on the tour. LOL

ChristineMM said...

I related to your post. Thank you for writing so eloquently about it.

Once I found about that an online community existed to discuss things artsy and craftsy, of people who valued creative endeavors, a big shift occurred with me. I didn't know this world was out here. For many years my personal creative endeavors were stifled and I thought I had no time for them.

From connecting online (first through a YahooGroup! about artist trading cards, I realized a whole bunch of people (thousands and thousands) were creating and enjoying their time doing all kinds of things. That led to me reading books, finding zines, digging deeper to find a podcast and Flickr.

(I have been connected online now for 2.5 years.)

In my local area I feel like an island too, that no one I know is interested in these things. However I know now there is a huge community out there. There is lots of inspiration and information, more than I have time to look at or consider. I no longer feel alone.

It would be nice to have a local friend that I could see face to face or call on the phone to chat about things with but for now I'll have to settle for online connections. I don't have the time or energy to work to put together a local community. However I have been thinking how great it would be to have a local group that met once a month to make art together such as to play with mixed-media, collage making or something like that, like a day of being in a workshop playing in art with others.

(Then again I just read in a book that some artists feel the way they like their environment to make art is not conducive to being with others, such as having it quiet or listening to certain music. So anyway maybe the workshop idea is more of a fantasy?)

Thanks for all the visits you make to my blog.

BTW I also have learned a lot and been grateful for online homeschooling communities when I can't get that same level of info or support on a niche topic from my local HS community.

Have a great day!

Patty said...

good post with some great ideas.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this.

There are family members and people I know who don't really understand the online connection. No matter. It's so very true what you say about being connected in an inspirational way to others who only encourage and edify. Amazing isn't it -- that we can reach out over this wire (or wireless) to find like minds, and make time for new friendships? Truth be told with family and work obligations I have little social face time ... the creative blog community is a welcome intellectual stimulation.


Creative Life Studio said...

Thank you for all your thoughtful responses. I knew I was not alone in my feelings about this. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...