That’s a question I get sometimes, especially about my jewelry. Sometimes the answer is simple – I see an image that gives me an idea. For instance, the Oregon Symphony performs in Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. It is a lovely old theater with wonderfully ornamented walls and ceilings. Built in 1928 and restored in 1984, the design is Italian Rococo Revival. The last time we were there I found a design for a pendant in a wall decoration, and an idea for an earring in a light sconce.
Often, it is the materials themselves that give me the design. The other day I wanted to make a bookmark but had no specific idea for the design. So I took out several containers of beads, set them on the table, and started trying different combinations. Even after I decided on what beads to use, I assembled the design three or four times in different versions until I found one I liked. And what I ended up with is not at all where I started!
Once in a while the idea comes from music. I remember a concert in Baltimore years ago when David Zinman was conducting the Baltimore Symphony. I can’t tell you what piece it was, but I had an image in my mind of music coming from the tips of his fingers and weaving together brilliant colors in the air over the orchestra. I tried to depict this in stained glass without a lot of success, but it was still a good idea!
The creative process is different for each person, and that doesn’t only mean artists. Computer programmers use their own group of tools to create elegant (or not!) applications. Gardeners use the language of plants and flowers to create a beautiful scene; painters capture that scene with their own collection of tools. The key, I believe, is to listen. Your muse will find a way to communicate, so be open to hearing/seeing/smelling/feeling inspiration when it arrives. Welcome your muse and enjoy the flow of creativity!
Where do you get your ideas?