Thursday, March 20, 2014

Inspiration - where does it come from?

People often ask me "Where do I get my ideas from?" and "what inspires me?" Also being a teacher I have heard students say they don't know what to make, don't know what colour/s to use etc etc.

There are many areas in our daily lives capable of inspiring myself and other Bead artists so today I hope to inspire you by sharing some ideas and giving some examples of where I and the other Mavens get our inspiration from and believe me it is limitless.

First up is the pretty obvious one of


Color is around us all day and all night, it is everywhere, we even dream in colour. Imagine the bright colours of Spring blossoms, the intensely rich earthy Summer desert scenes, the warm tones of Autumn leaves or the cool/cold/crisp whites of a Winter wonderland, just to name the seasons. Speaking of seasons, how about fashion colors in clothing and interior design? these also inspire and luckily regularly alter. A favorite piece of artwork, the colour of someone's eyes, the changing hues of water, shades as the sunlight moves, the sheen of feathers on a bird, the colours of a snake and the list is endless…………… here we have Aurelio Castono's colour inspiration taken from an American Rattlesnake, awesome work also awesome snake.


You may have a favorite piece of fabric that you love because of its patterning. You may see terrific wallpaper in a magazine, a house, store or even as display in a wallpaper shop.  Pattern can be abstract like a psychedelic shirt, linear like tartan, circular like polka-dots or paisley, a mix of all these. What about image repetition to form pattern - we see those every day and most don't even register in our mind. Seeing a row of items can inspire a design. Pattern is part of our everyday life also, just like colour is………here we have Mikki Ferrugiaro's bracelet design inspired by pattern and colour from a piece of fabric and how good does that look?


People love to touch, love the feel of different things. Inspiration also comes from how something feels. What about a spiky ocean critter, or an echidna/porcupine. All spiney protrusions are possible to achieve with spike beads or daggers like my 'Echinoderm' bracelet.

Nature and Scenery

Many people paint beautiful scenery, photograph mountains and trees. We cannot escape nature as it is all around us and why not try to allow a massive scene to inspire and get the creative juices to flow? Neva Brown had Machu Picchu as the challenge inspiration for a brooch.


I love architecture. Inspiration from architecture is also limitless and we have so many styles of architecture covering such a diverse and wide range from Roman to present day. Consider the curves in a modern building, the patterning of exterior finishes, the sails of an Opera House, the stain glass windows in a church, the steeples of a mosque, the lines of a gothic building, the material used to make the various surfaces and again the list is endless……… example of Art Deco architecture is the Chrysler Building in New York City inspiration for my Art Deco bracelet.

Duplication of what you see

This is where you make something that you see in life or on TV or in a magazine, a literal piece. I have created a necklace idea seen from a piece worn in a movie, Mikki has created a bracelet from a wall design seen in a movie. It would not be possible to list all the things we see in life that inspire………..I love flowers and one of my favorites are Gerberas. I see a fun, happy flower very difficult to ignore because they are so full of colour, so what better inspiration can you ask for ? 

Whereas Heather Kingsley Heath loves bugs and she tells me the bigger the better for her Battle of the Beadsmith competition piece, just look at the amazing workwomanship in this Scorpion and the butterfly, incredible eye for detail.

So here are just two examples of literal translations of what exists to inspire.

What about wanting to create a completely whacky piece? You could do something like Mikki Ferrugiaro's Armadillo Blossom purse and create a combination of two things into one - her inspiration for her 2012 Battle of the Beadsmith was asking herself "What would a purse look like if it were a cross between an Armadillo and a water lily?", only Mikki would ask such a question.


Let your ideas run wild with the possibilities of combining two, three or four of your favourite things and seeing what you can come up with. It is all about playing and using your creative imagination.

Literature and imagination

So far we have only mentioned things that we physically see for inspiration. We cannot omit the images we conjure in our own mind when we are reading a book, listening to music, reciting a poem. All these things also trigger a flow of internal imagery. Just look at Neva Brown's beautiful piece called 'Lady of Shallott' all inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem of the same name. 
There she weaves by night and day 
A magic web with colours gay. 
She has heard a whisper say, 
A curse is on her if she stay 
To look down to Camelot. 
She knows not what the curse may be, 
And so she weaveth steadily, 
And little other care hath she, 
The Lady of Shalott.

New Beads and experimentation
Last, but not least, all the new shapes and colours of beads coming out.  Inspiration is triggered when you experiment. Just sitting and playing with the variety of two hole beads now available gets your creative juices flowing. New ideas and new ways to use them are being discovered all the time. In my 'Annabella' pendant we have Super-duos, Tila beads, spikes and what a pretty picture they make.

Today's post is just a small snippet of all the inspiration that surrounds us. Be open to what is around you, what is attractive to you, what catches your eye, your attention. All you have to do is open your eyes, really look, and be open to the possibilities. 
You have heard the line 'Stop and smell the Roses' how about changing that to 'Stop, smell the Roses and look at how beautiful the colour, delicate the shape, how soft the petals, how pointed the thorns ………...and the inspiration begins.'