What’s your daily source of crafting inspiration? For me there are general and specific answers to this question. The general answer can be found in the ways that color, texture, and pattern meet to produce a story. The “story” is the tale the final product tells: what it is, for whom it’s designed, and how it’s beneficial. Make no mistake—every product tells such a story to varying degrees.
The gratitude journals I design, for example, are written meditations for those who want to bring about, through mindfulness of what’s really important to them, a more positive outlook on life.
The blank books I craft capture an individual’s fleeting thoughts, interesting quotes, bits of poetry, doodles, or mini sketches—in general, expressions of creativity or inspirational reminders.
The specific elements that provide my crafting inspiration usually come from nature, particularly from flowers, leaves, birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
I’ve mentioned in other posts that I am not much of a gardener—honestly, I forget to water plants and then, not surprisingly, they don’t survive. But I do love flowers nonetheless, even if I don’t find inspiration in my non-existent garden. Instead, I rely upon a mixture of imagination and illustrations from old calendars, books, magazines and Web searches. Especially helpful to me from my personal library is Gardens Flowers, by Matthias Hermann. The book, published more than 40 years ago in Germany (but translated into English), includes exquisitely detailed engravings from famous painters such as Albrecht Dürer, Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Moritz Michael Daffinger and others.
Sitting on a shelf above one of my sewing machines is a garden-themed mini-pillow I stitched, along with other garden-themed items I have collected over the years.
Another wall in the sewing room displays blown glass birds and flowers, as well as a dolphin and elephant that don’t quite match the rest of the theme, but are special because they were gifted to me by family members.
My paper crafting studio showcases mixed media wall art, “Mountain Mommas,” designed by Tennessee artist Sam Willoughby, as well as nature-inspired folk crafts from Kentucky and elsewhere that John and I picked up during our travels.
I keep a collection of old calendars and regularly use the pages to cover binders. Invariably, flowers and winged creatures are prominently displayed in the illustrations.
My love of birds probably began when I was a little girl and spotted a robin’s nest outside my window sill. But that affinity for birds likely grew when I owned various parakeets, both as a teen and as an adult. In this 1972 photo, my late father is playing with the family budgie, Tony.
I even sketched and embroidered a portrait of one of my birds back in 1976, when crewel embroidery was popular.
When we lived in southern California many years ago, I missed the changing seasons—especially autumn. The love for fall persists today, even though we live in Iowa, where seasonal contrasts abound. As a result, I collect buttons and other embellishments that remind me of my favorite season, and enjoy creating items that incorporate a fall palette of colors.
In short, I surround myself with what inspires me, not consciously, but because these items appeal to me visually and evoke images, sounds and scents from my past. I suspect this is true for everyone who creates. In the comments below, describe the source(s) of your crafting inspiration. Feel free to provide a link if you’ve blogged about this same topic.
© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.