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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Inspiration..Schminspiration? Part 1

What exactly is inspiration? Where does it come from? How is it helpful?

Inspiration's something that triggers off a spark, or one of those cute little cartoon lightbulbs in your brain. One of my favourite authors, Philip Pullman, has said that if we wait too long to become inspired, we'll never get anything done. He relies more on self-motivation than on inspiration.

For me, however, both concepts are the same. We can motivate ourselves to start a project by using the things that inspire us as a springboard to create new ideas and concepts.

Inspiration's especially a useful tool for when you've got "creator's block". You know you want to do something, let's say- design a logo, sew a dress, or maybe cook something new for dinner- but you've got no idea where to begin. Here's what you do:-

1. Research. Look through crafty communities, read interviews with your favourite designers, look through Google images, listen to music. Try to find pictures or ideas that you admire, and that you'd wish to try yourself. Also look for tutorials for projects, if it's the first time you're trying a particular technique.

2.Compile. Whip Up and Handmade Detroit, two of my favourite crafty blogs, both have a lot to say on the concept of an Inspiration Board. Use an ordinary message board or even an old piece of a cardboard box hung on your wall to store all the bits and pieces of things you collect.

3. Brainstorm. Most people just stop at the compiling step. I know I do- I'm a HUGE craft hoarder. Patterns, pictures, links, tutorials, you name it.. I've probably got it. I'm a self-confessed procrastinator- I hardly get at much done as I want to. I sometimes think this is due to information overload. The Internet provides so many resources with regards to diy and making stuff that you can become bombarded and stifled. If you realize that you're falling into this trap, don't! Spend some time away from your computer with your inspiration board for a little while. Challenge yourself to think of new, interesting ideas to build upon those you've already collected.

4.Do. Set aside some time to make one of the ideas you've just come up with, using your inspiration as a starting point. Pretend it's a reality show- challenge yourself to think of ideas that are original, interesting, and practical. If they aren't practical, try to work out the kinks by breaking the idea down into manageable steps. Make a plan or design and stick to it- without forgetting to have room for experimentation. But, most importantly, have fun! This may just be a prototype for yet another cool project! How about only using recyled items, or only using things you find around the house?

In a next post, I'll illustrate the process by using something that inspires me to create something new. But, for now, I'll just share a fascinating inspiration board I've found on Flickr.

Board from
Tania Ho on Flickr.

-Amanda C.Q.

Stay tuned for follow up!

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