Creative Inspiration and Thinking Inside the Box

art nouveau bookcaseI’ll confess – sometimes I find it hard to let you into the magic of how I develop my designs. Some people in the arts can do this by showing stages of a technical process. I love seeing how my friend’s wonderful woodcuts gain depth as color is added at each stage. It’s easier to see and feel the artistic evolution with woodcuts than it is with digital graphic design.

Inspiration is a magic, alchemy-like reaction – a catalyst that is hard to describe. I’d like to show an aspect of how my inspiration works through a home decor moment. I’ve always been interested in interior design, as you’ll recall from this blog post. I believe the atmosphere of our homes is incredibly important for our well-being.

It seems that the decor in my home is always being refined, with various problems waiting to be solved. A small one was niggling at the back of my mind: what to do with all those pens lying around? How could I corral them gracefully? This was not a new dilemma – it had been my companion for years.

Not long ago, I was at one of my favorite low-end antique shops. In fact, some might call it a junk shop. The moment you enter you’re engulfed by mountains of furniture and bric-à-brac. There’s just a small, dusty pathway – like a gorge – for the truly adventurous explorer. It’s some people’s idea of hell. I get a sense of anticipation whenever I go there – I  never know what I’ll find or how I’ll be inspired. I love nothing more than rummaging about and exclaiming. Sometimes I come away emptyhanded but this time I struck gold.

There it was – the solution to the pen problem. Remember those treadle singer sewing machines? They had beautiful high, narrow wooden drawers. Standing right in front of me, were a gaggle of these drawers.

I promptly got two. I knew they would be be an interesting accent piece to hold those messy pens and most importantly would look arresting sitting on top of my small, art nouveau bookcase.

That was my moment of aha! inspiration. It was small but is revealing. I’ve found that inspiration is the happy convergence of factors.

  1. It’s a wealth of knowledge and background interest – this is the educational heavy lifting.
  2. There’s the endless rummaging about – literally and figuratively – with Ideas. It’s a day to day Struggle and Time Spent to deepen and broaden not just my knowledge and skills but also my creative voice.
  3. There are always artistic challenges in the back of my mind. Sometimes I’m overtly chewing them over, sometimes they’re in my subconscious.
  4. What this all means is that I’m ready to grasp a solution when I see it – otherwise it would have been easy to walk by the singer drawers and my pens would still be messying about.

This time that solution was sitting there in the dusty corner. At other times I capture it in my designs.

It’s these moments of inspiration – and everything that goes into them – that elevate my designs. How can I use this inspiration to help your own creative vision?