Finding the Muse – Andrea Quenneville

5 06 2009

I’ve spent the past few months focusing on my family and settling into our new home and community. Now that I am ready to restart my business, I find that I’m frequently at a loss for new ideas. What inspiration I do have seems to come at awkward moments when I can’t get to my studio and once I’m finally able to sit down, I have trouble translating the ideas into tangible creations. Here are a few of the things I am trying to get myself out of this dry spell and rediscover the muse:

  • Visiting galleries and artisan markets to admire the work of others
  • Going for walks, hikes and bicycle rides in areas of natural beauty to look for new color combinations and intriguing shapes
  • Visiting museums to learn from work outside my usual mediums
  • Giving myself permission to take a break for a weekend or a week in order to consciously remove some of the stress I am creating for myself
  • Challenging myself to create one thing every day for a set amount of time while being careful not to overdo it and get burned out
  • Finding new sources for supplies, preferably local stores and not catalogs or online shops
  • Reorganizing my existing supplies, as handling them often generates ideas
  • Taking digital photos, especially macros, and then examining the patterns and textures I’ve captured
  • Reading a book or watching a movie, because sometimes settings and themes used in the stories provide inspiration

I hope that some of these will prove useful to others!

Andrea blogs at Thoughts from Ms. Q


Inspiration – Heather Hertziger

12 01 2009

Inspiration is one of those very personal things.  What one person finds inspiring may not do anything for someone else.  Some people may find that their art is inspired by majestic views or paintings by masters.  Others find that they need other sources for inspiration.  

I belong to the second group.  I look at a painting, a sunset on a pond, or a beautiful mountain and I appreciate them for themselves, but rarely do I feel inspired by something like this.  My inspiration comes from learning new things and finding ways to incorporate those techniques into things I already do.  Lately, I have been feeling uninspired to work on my torch so I decided to work on something completely different for me and so I found some directions to make this necklace.


I don’t typically make pieces like this so it was a real stretch for me.  However, now that it is made, I am inspired to see what it would look like with some of my lampwork incorporated into the design.  I will be hitting the torch soon and creating a new piece with my lampwork added to the design.  Stay tuned to see what I come up with.


Inspiration: Laura McCullough-DeLorme

8 08 2008

To me, inspiration and motivation go hand in hand, if I’m not motivated to work, I simply have to find something to inspire me and quick!  Because I make many of my wallets out of newspapers, I’m often inspired by other people’s art…cartoonists, news photographers, fashion advertisements etc.  I’ll see an image and wonder how I can incorporate it into the front panel of a wallet and this sets about a flurry of cutting, measuring and collaging to see to see if I can make something amazing happen in its transformation.

It’s hard for me to work with paper I don’t care for.  I know it’s important to have a wide variety of patterns because my wallets are accessories and every woman’s taste is different, but I try to choose paper I love, like or well, almost like.

There have been a few exceptions. I was drawn to this Peter Pan paper because of the colors, but when I began working with it, i discovered that I hated the images.

In fact, one of the images of the Indian Chief from the story was so offensive in its negative stereotype of Native Americans that I folded the paper on the inside of the wallet, so no one would see it. And Tinkerbell? Who ever knew that my favorite fairy friend could look like such a brat?

I got through it and guess what? The wallet sold the first day out at Farmer’s Market, accidentally got listed in my Etsy shop and sold there too, so now I have to make another and quick.  What’s my inspiration to work on it now?  I’m motivated by the customer’s delight in the paper and of how perfect it will be as a gift for her daughter in-law. And in most cases, that’s motivation enough. Plus, I do kind of like a swarthy Captain Hook.

The picture at the top of the post is inspiration in action and based solely on my joy of finding an image I loved. It was made with a hot pink newspaper from Italy that’s targeted towards male sports enthusiasts. The image is from the corner of a car advertisement (if you look closely you can see the front window of the car in the bottom of the photo). As soon as I saw it, I was inspired to turn it from an ad to a very unusual wallet. And the work was easy. It’s so fun to see the transformation and as I work with images like I love, I’m excited as a little kid who has a big secret because “everyone is going to just die when they see this!”

Of course, there’s always a balance and by the time I’ve folded my seventy second cherry blossom wallet, the excitement in the end result wanes, but I know there will always be paper I’ve never worked with to get me inspired again. These are next on my list!

I’ll keep you posted!

Ellusive Inspiration – Suzanne of Solar Flare Creations

16 06 2008

I always find it quite difficult to talk about inpiration in relation to my glass beads.  I sometimes struggle to find inspiration in what may be seen as the obvious places. I had, for example, hoped to return from an exotic overseas trip with lots of new ideas relating to the experiences I had, the cultures I witnessed, the art I observed….. and yet in the 18 months since that trip, none of my beads have directly responded to those experiences.

I am very fortunate to have a 4 page artist’s profile published  in this months Creative Beading magazine here in Australia.  To quote from that article My interests are quite eclectic, so I draw my inspiration from a lot of different areas. My study of historical beads has been a great inspiration, but I am also inspired by an approach to various skills and techniques,rather than external stimuli. Often I work on a series of beads to acquire and extend my skills, and I am always influenced by the range of colours available…”

I often find myself considering the differences between a craftsperson and an artist, and at this stage of my beadmaking career, I often feel I lean more towards the craft.  The impetus behind the beads I produce is so often a desire to master a particular skill, technique or tool, rather than a desire to express a more nebulous concept.  I don’t feel that this is any way affects the aesthetic appeal of the final product, but it is an interesting approach from one who has studied and taught Fine Art for many years. My recreations of  historical beads are also driven by research, rather than artistic intent, although aesthetic appeal always remain paramount in my work.

Suzanne blogs and beads at her studio in the Dandenong Ranges, Australia.


Being open to inspiration is the first step to finding it – Deanna Chase

21 03 2008

Finding inspiration for our art can be both spontaneous and a challenge. Absolutely the best kind of inspiration is when an idea just pops out of no where and grabs hold of you. Well, maybe it doesn’t just pop out of no where, but it is an idea you were not expecting. Then it grabs on and doesn’t let go. I have learned to pay attention to those moments, but to not force them.

My most recent inspiring moment, was when I was trying to come up with a gift for my father for Christmas. I knew I wanted to make him a marble, but I didn’t know what kind. I am pretty new to the marble scene and pretty much my ideas are limited to what I know how to do. In my brain storming, I was coming up with things he enjoys and likes to do. One of his favorite hobbies to restoring an old Ford truck. I have no illusions that I would be able to some how make a Ford truck inside a marble, so I quickly ran through his other interests. My next thought was golf. He really does enjoy golf, and when I was younger we had father/daughter golf day a few times. So, the golf marble was born, using stick figure animation I call it. Which led to a whole series of sports themed marbles, which I am currently having a ball with. No pun intended.

It is interesting to see where ideas can end up going. I have plenty that went no where, but the water bucket. Which is death for any kind of hot glass.Those ideas are not necessarily abandoned, just on hold. At some point I hope I will learn something that will bring me back to them.

In the mean time I will continue to be inspired by nature, brain storming with my hubby, and my most favorite places to find inspiration, which are book stores and google images.

Inspiration – Lori Anderson

30 12 2007

Inspiration in design is such an individual thing that I’m going to tell you what inspires me.

My inspiration for jewelry design is really quite simpel — I am inspired by the beads themselves and color combos.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it does go deeper.

When I go to a bead show, there is almost a sensory overload from the sheer numbers of beads available.  Where to start?  What to pick?  More often than not, a strand of beads or a stellar finding will just “appear” and make itself known to me amongst the hundreds of other strands.  It could be the color, the texture, the shape of the bead that attracted me – it could be how it feels in my hand when I pick it up. 

One of my favorite gemstone dealers knows me well enough now that he holds back some “ooh aah!” strands for me, and as soon as I see them, a design almost immediately pops into my head.  It’s almost like getting a vision, for lack of a better description – but it’s very handy!

Color combinations inspire me as well.  I have a huge notebook of magazine clippings from flower catalogs, fashion magazines, and (of all things) bedding catalogs.  I’ll snip out a bit of the color combo and stick it in my book for later.  I collect paint chips from Lowes and will sort them around until a color goes, “Ah!”.  If I see someone wearing a really cool outfit, I’ll rush to right down the colors in a notebook that I carry everywhere.

My design table is constantly FULL of beads.  I’ll go to the bead cabinet to retrieve a bead for a project I’m working on, and beside it will be one that triggers an immediate design in my head.  I’ll put those on the table, and then the same thing will happen again when I got to get out another bead.  It can get overwhelming so I have to be a little strict with myself – if I can’t see the table top ANYWHERE, it’s time to show some restraint.

Regardless of what inspires you, embrace it, and work it for all it’s worth! 


Inspiration – Lisa Liddy

7 12 2007

When I first started making jewelry, it was at a local bead shop that closed in the evening. Small groups of friends could come in after hours,  string beads, drink wine and share chitchat. It was just for fun then, but I knew that I enjoyed the activity and I was drawn to the different materials: the intricacies of Bali silver beads; the shapes, colors and textures of freshwater pearls; and, at that time, natural stones and semiprecious stones. I didn’t really think about inspiration though. It was a form of relaxing for me…to clear my mind of rigid computer-related stuff. The inspiration came later.

Over 4 years ago I discovered lampwork beads. And it has been a love affair that has evolved and changed as I’ve come to understand and appreciate the process and the skills that go into these artisan-made glass beads. In the years that followed, I learned all that I could about the art (short of actually melting glass myself) and met many bead artists online while buying the beads.  It is to the point that 95% of my Joolz are designed around lampwork beads. Most of the time the many forms that these glass treasures take provide me with endless amounts of inspiration. I see a set in an auction or when a friend displays them in a forum “show & tell” and I’m drawn to it. I can often picture what I’d do with that set and how I’d use pearls and silver to complement the artistry of the glass. However, this is not to say that every set I buy ends up immediately being put to use.

Other times, I am almost overwhelmed by a set of beads long after I’ve received them, unsure how to take the innate beauty they possess and enhance it with my designs. I confess to feeling unworthy at times of turning those beads into a mere piece of jewelry—one that will thrill someone else in the same way I felt when I first saw the beads by themselves. I want to inspire that same feeling with my work. I want whoever ends up with the jewelry to feel a “wow” moment.

“Heavy stuff,” you might be thinking. “We’re just talking beads and bracelets here.”

Well, yes and no. I know that sometimes we are just talking glass beads, round or oval, smooth or rough, shiny or etched. But other times we are talking little works of art. They conjure up a feeling with their colors and textures and as a designer I am compelled to only enhance that feeling, not overpower it with needless excess. So the pressure builds and some beads sit. Still inspiring me with their beauty, but not quite letting me pass on the inspiration. So inspiration is a double-edged sword at times.

Or maybe I need to just get over it. 🙂