Art, Craft, and Inspiration
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|Even the most creative and talented people sometimes go through periods of feeling uninspired. Sometimes it’s just getting stuck on a project, and sometimes it feels like you’ve lost your crafty mojo. Either way, it’s just part of living a creative life, but it can be very frustrating.|
I recently attended a beautiful event that made me think about inspiration: where it comes from, and how to seek it out. The event was called “Art in Bloom” and it took place at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The idea behind Art in Bloom is that over 100 floral designers create amazing floral arrangements inspired by the art in the museum’s collection. The floral arrangements were inspired by a variety of media, including paintings, sculpture, and more. Some were very literal, and tried to replicate the piece of art, while others were inspired by the spirit of the art to create something very different in tribute. Although there’s an obvious difference between a painting or other piece of artwork and a floral display, the inspiration was visible in the colors, forms, and styles of the arrangement. It struck me that one object can inspire a very different project, with beautiful results. These images of a sculpture by Picasso show how a toy car inspired him to create a lovely, yet hilarious, sculpture of a mother and baby baboon. The Monet painting that follows inspired a literal, and amazing, interpretation in flowers.
It’s fairly obvious that fine art can be inspirational, but inspiration is all around us. In nature, the shapes of a tree, a stone, or a flower can spark imagination. In the city, the form of a bridge or water tower, the path of a plane, or the colors of buildings can be translated into fiber craft, a collage, or a sewing project. If you’re feeling low on inspiration, take a walk, empty your mind, and look around you to see what catches your eye. In these quiet moments a great idea can begin to take hold. If you have a museum nearby, wander through it and just gaze at the colors and forms, take in the beauty. Read the didactics on the wall and let the stories move you, or just wander without a goal and soak it all in.
Another great source for inspiration isn’t necessarily visual at all. Read things that interest you, talk to people and learn their stories, or watch a documentary or a classic film. When passing time with friends I sometimes like to play a sort of game. We ask each other “Tell me a story about ____” and the other person then relates an event from their life or even invents a story about whatever the ___ is. It’s usually some random thing that comes to mind (tell me a story about an airplane…bananas…a tree…3rd grade…). It not only helps you learn more about the person, it gets your wheels turning and thinking about your experiences. This can trigger an idea for a project.
Inspiration is a delicate, mysterious process, but it can be found all around us. What do you do when you need to kick your creativity into gear? Share your stories with your fellow Craftsters and let us know. What inspires you?