Sunday, May 16, 2010

Creativity: The Force That Drives Us

As a quilter and pattern designer, I find inspiration in many places. Now, not all inspirations make it into a quilt. Most of them never hit the design board and are destined to remain nothing more than a pretty picture or hastily scratched drawing. Some make it into rough designs but not into an actual quilt. Sometimes the initial inspiration sparks one idea that quickly becomes a run-away and morphs into numerous other ideas with the first spark lost in the dust.

I collect images from magazines, newspapers, book covers, catalogues. I take photographs and make rough sketches. Occasionally,words spark an idea. Sometimes a quick turn of a phrase sparks a design.

Like Neapolitan. I used to work in a local quilt shop. One evening a customer came up to me with three bolts of fabric. She had a brown, a pink and a white. “Does this look like Neapolitan?” She asked. That touched of the inspiration for my Neapolitan quilt. Right after work I hit the computer, fired up EQ and started designing. I didn’t stop until the final design for my Neapolitan quilt was finished.I had the design complete, the sample quilt finished and the instructions written and ready for my testers within 48 hours. WOW. Now that's inspiration.

Talking of inspiration, let's not forget flowers and trees and all of Mother Nature’s wonders. They are always inspiring. But so too are the works of man. Towering skyscrapers and elaborate architectural curves delight the eye and stir the mind. Perhaps my favorite inspiration has come from a visit to Banff, Alberta. It hit me just outside our hotel.

My husband was attending an engineering conference and we were staying at the Banff Springs Hotel. For me the trip was a boondoggle. It was just some free time away from the kids and pets. Time to relax and revitalize myself. Touring the hotel grounds I happened upon an inspiration. It was perfect. I had to record that image so I could use it later.

But alas, I had no camera. Some silly woman left the camera at home. Sigh. So I scurried into the gift shop and purchased a disposable camera (for about the same price as a real camera, I might add) and hurried back to take pictures of my inspiration.

Yup, it was still there. It hadn’t moved. What was this wonder? The perfect design for an all-over quilting motif, or perhaps for an intricate applique design. I tilted that camera too and fro. I moved back and forth getting many angles. I wanted to be sure I didn’t miss a detail. Finally, sure I had it all I stood back and tucked the camera into my purse.

That’s when I heard the whisper. A small girl asked her mother, “Mom, why is that lady taking pictures of that garbage can?”

That’s it. Find your inspiration where you can and pay no heed to the critics and those funny little voices.


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