Of inspiration and artists.

We went to the arts festival yesterday. We try to go most years and have been often enough that we recognize some of the artists by face, not just by work. And the art is amazing. To see what some 200 artists create -- every single one of them different in some way -- is mind-boggling. Sure, there are a bunch of photographers...but not a single "duplication" out there. Sculptors in clay, metal, wood -- several may make vases or bowls, but none exactly alike. Then there's the guy that uses spark plugs (sparkplugguy.com) -- I think he might have a corner on that particular market.

Where do they find inspiration? I don't mean once -- sure, see a beautiful sunset, and even I can be inspired to take a photo. I mean the inspiration to work 150 hours on one woven table base, to know that the colors and pattern is just what it needs to be (tinasbaskets.com). Reading the artists' descriptions of their work and how they see a piece in nature or in the materials they use -- for someone who thinks like I do, it is so hard to grasp.

I liked paint-by-numbers kits as a kid. I like patterns. I like directions and samples and recipes and having a plan when I start. I make greeting cards, and people tell me how pretty they are. I feel like a fraud -- most of the time I use creative friends' ideas to put them together! I can sit down and dream one up, but it will take me forever, and there's almost always something about the end result that I want to redo. Is that common?

There was one booth at the festival (otlag.com) that fascinated me so much I think I'd still be there looking if I could. The artist created mixed media collages as the cover of journals, scrapbooks, photo albums -- there was an entire story in the collage. Using discarded stuff (silverware, jewelry, etc) she tells a story before you ever open a book - a book that's going to be some story of your own. Not only were they beautiful, they were inspiring in themselves -- I would want to pick up the book to add to it, just because of the cover.

I want to keep thinking about this inspiration thing. I'm not an artist like I met and talked to yesterday. I'm not suddenly going to have a stash of found objects to turn into something else. I'm not going to suddenly understand aperture on a camera or bokeh in a picture...but today I'm going to clean my house. And I'm going to get frames for the prints I bought from some amazing artists. And I'll find the right place to hang them. And maybe in the next few days I'll inspire myself or someone else to do something new.


  1. But you are an artist. I've heard you sing.

    Nicely done. Keep up the good work. It's a nice change from the political stuff I read.


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