Tuesday, July 7, 2009

inspiration tuesday

Dear ones,

Inspiration overload: is it a term (or condition) you have any experience with? Me too. With so many sources of creative spice out there on the web, in print, and out in the world, one can become overwhelmed without a way to logically sift and sort through all of the beauty.

So what do I do? My number one secret to organizing my inspiration files and keeping my brain free for creating is keeping ultra-neat folders for favorites.

In my studio, I use a big red box with file folders that correspond to the type of inspiron (color, shape, line, fashion, etc.) as well as a bulletin board and clothes line. On rainy Saturdays, that box is a girl's greatest companion (besides an adorable husband, I mean!).

On my computer, I have several formulas: flickr has an easy way to capture what captures my heart: favorites. (I even enjoy going back over my pages and pages of favorites as a visual history of my creative evolution.) You may have noticed that I also make mosaics from my favorites (often using the mosaic-maker from Big Huge Labs), which is especially helpful if I'm documenting favorites with a distinctly similar theme. Favorites are also a great way for me to organize the new talents I would like to feature from Etsy. Tumblr also has a heart-it feature that works similarly.

I also love to bookmark websites. This way, if I'm pressed for time or just do not have the desire to go down a rabbit-hole of loveliness at that particular moment, I can easily find what I'm smitten with and dig in more deeply later on. My bookmarks are ridiculously-detailed in their descriptions (think "vegan desserts" or "hot colors").

Additionally, I oftentimes right-click and save things that I find inspiring into descriptive files. This is a great way for me to get to know an artist or designer I'd like to feature or who has plucked a chord deep in the root of my creative psyche. Obviously, I would never use any of these images without the permission of the artist, which is why descriptive labels can be so helpful.

Out in life, I like to photograph or sketch what moves me. Sketching in particular can be an immensely gratifying way to soak up the moment. I try to capture words, smells, sounds, forms and textures with my pencil. Years later, this helps me remember (almost viscerally) what happened that I just couldn't bear to leave out of a painting.

Of paramount importance to keeping the inspiration well from overflowing and threatening to ruin you with overwhelm is the art of stepping away, the art of forgetting (always knowing that what is meant to stay with you always will find its way), the art of surrendering to the moment, and the gift of turning off the computer.

What are your tips for keeping inspiration where you need it?

All good things,


  1. you really hit on something with your sentence "the gift of turning off the computer" - sometimes that's when inspiration flows best, without any outside influence. great post. xo A

  2. Google reader. I used to use bloglines but I switched over and love it. I star the ones I want to keep handy or share them with friends. And you can do the same from any web page so it's a timesaver.

  3. well, my new tips are all of those that you mentioned. plus, i try to keep things around me on a board or otherwise displayed so they stay in front of my mind.


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