Inspiration.  It’s what drives us artistic types.  It’s food for the creative soul.  With it, our hands tremble in anticipation of taking an idea, a design, a thought, and making it into something concrete.  It drives the tools in our hands to do spectacular things.  Without it, art feels soul-less, bland, common.  With it, anything is possible.

Every artist, artisan, writer, creator of any type needs a muse.  The beauty of inspiration is that it really stems from the eye of the beholder.  Take, for example, nature.  Nearly all of the artisan shops and blogs that I’ve seen recently describe their creators as being “inspired by nature.”  That may seem like an unimaginative answer (especially when you see it over, and over, and over again), but consider: not only is nature vast and varied (glittering frozen tundra, delicate orchid petals, towering ancient redwoods, backyard butterflies, a heart-stopping close encounter with a whale), but we all take away something different from it.  Each person’s experience depends on the details their eye picks out, the parts of the experience most meaningful to them.  This, to me, is what makes the creative process so fascinating – seeing how people take their inspiration and turn it into their art.  What do they see?  What is their experience?  What part of that experience inspires their minds?  What other people take away from an experience isn’t necessarily the same thing I do.  The gnarled roots of an old tree inspire my Tree of Life pendants, but may evoke something different in another artist.  Or they may evoke nothing at all, the tree-viewer instead focussing on the cardinal up in the branches, mind racing with flittery crimson ideas.

I find inspiration in a variety of places.  Ideas often come to me at the dog park, walking on a quiet trail with my dogs off and exploring, where I can clear my mind and let ideas steal in.  I get inspiration from reading about other creative people.  I love to think about other people’s processes, how they collaborate with others, how their ideas can morph into something unexpected.  I particularly love reading biographies of creative people.  I just read Pete Townshend’s “Who I Am”, and found myself considering aspects of my wire-wrapping process and coming up with techniques to try out.  He’s a musician, I’m a jeweller, but he still got my creative juices flowing.

I challenge you to consider the things that inspire you.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist or artisan, if you do crafts or scrapbooking or write stories or just daydream.  What are the things that get your mind racing with ideas?  Is it a place?  A person?  An event?  What gives you inspiration?