What inspires you?

What do you do as a regular practice to inspire yourself?  Where do you look for colors, textures, shapes that speak to you?  I suspect many people would cite nature as an inspiration for their art, no matter the medium.  While I do find some inspiration from natural beauty, I am perhaps more  drawn to manufactured beauty.

One of the best ways for me to get my creative juices flowing is to visit an antique store-the kind with multiple vendors.  I especially love items from the 40’s and 50’s.  Bakelite  makes me swoon.  Show me a funky wooden purse with a Lucite handle and I am in heaven.  A box full of vintage sewing supplies?  Sold!  Dress forms and mannequins and glove displays-oh my!  Tables and shelves made of punched metal and wire-I have about 12 of them.  I own a few of these things (I sold a lot of it in the last move) but the point is not in the having of them, it’s in the looking at them.  I take in the shapes, the colors, the heft, and I create stories about where these items used to live.  Who bought them new?  Who spent their whole paycheck on a Lucite purse?  Who wore that vintage dress and for what occasion?  There are so many stories and so many lives that have contributed to the display in each booth.

I take all of this information in and draw from it in my art work.  My work often includes vintage images and small treasures I have collected.  I work mainly with beeswax collage and altered books, which both lend themselves nicely to incorporating found and 3D objects.

I find that I am drawn to the same colors and textures repeatedly.  I have oodles of lime green paper, fabric, ribbon, beads and buttons.  I have every art material imaginable that comes in a glow-in-the-dark version.  So I find it helps from time to time to share materials with other artists.  Whether this happens at a workshop or in a class or in a more organized art materials exchange, it helps to keep my own stash fresh.

I will talk  more later about organizing a studio and acquiring  materials, but for now I pose a question to you.  What inspires you?  What is your visual candy?  How do you then use it in your artwork?


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