Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Inspiration Express

Recently, I was able to take a long Friday lunch with friends and wine in a dark, wood-paneled bar. One friend asked me where I found my inspiration for my jewelry design. Before I had a chance to respond, she said that her mother, who was a lifelong potter, had believed that everything and anything can be inspiration. I agree wholeheartedly.

Permitting curiosity to be your guide, anything can be questioned, expanded, combined, reversed or put to other uses to bring a new idea into being. Michael Michalko wrote a couple of great books on the subject of invention. Cracking Creativity is a particularly good read.

But sometimes, inspiration just does not seem to come. Sometimes you have to wait for the muse to show up. I recently heard a talk on where Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love quoted an older poet saying, that inspiration can 'barrel through you like a train while you try to catch the tail end of it, frantically looking for a piece of paper and a pen.' And if you can't get to a pen, if you miss it, the train will just streak on to someone else who can capture it and bring the idea into being. This talk on is illuminating and heartwarming and decidedly worth viewing.

When ideas are ready to be born, they look for capable midwives, ready with pen, paper, clay, computer, precious metal or stones, who are willing to persist in the work of honing the notion into a fully formed creation. This is a job I love doing.