Being creative is often a matter of making connections or links between seemingly unconnected ideas or things. Where do you find inspiration for connective creativity?
For me, travel always primes the pump. We recently visited the Pacific Northwest. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few of the photos I took while there. The mountains, the rose and dahlia gardens, the Columbia River gorge vistas, all inspire me. What took my fancy most, from a quilting perspective, were two figures I captured at the Portland Art Museum. They are shamans from ancient China. Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph the tag, so I don’t have more information than that.
It’s easy for me to imagine these beautiful cat-like faces portrayed in quilts. Even their robes are suggestive of patchwork.
Generally, though, I don’t need to travel as far to find interesting ideas. Recently Jim and I were in a hardware store. I wandered the aisles as he looked at eye-hooks and carabiner clips. In the ropes-and-lines aisle, I found something called “mason line.” Certainly I’m familiar with the Mason-Dixon line! But this was new to me. Mason line (or mason’s twine) is a nylon braided twine used in masonry, brick-work, and concrete applications. It comes in amazing colors, like fluorescent green, bright orange, and hot pink. They’re about the weight of a hefty perle cotton thread. I haven’t done any couching, but I could imagine using mason line as a couching or decorative thread on … something.
Nature is always high on the list for sources of inspiration. It has all the components artists love: color, value, shape, texture, line, as well as balance, proportion, movement… Besides nature, and of course current day artists and quilters, where do you find inspiration? What leads you to those creative leaps that feel completely new? Let’s make a list.
* current events
* hardware stores
* craft stores
* art museums
* woven placemats from Target
* books about … what?
* gift shops
* patriotic themes
* faith or religion
* family members or events
What can you add to the list? What quilting or art have you done with unusual sources of inspiration? Tell us about it in comments.