Thursday, April 12, 2012


by Ruth Greening
Guest Poster and Senior Instructor

Main Entry: in·spi·ra·tion

Function: noun
1 : the drawing of air into the lungs in breathing
2 a : the act or power of moving the mind or the emotions
2 b: the quality or state of being inspired
2 c: something that is inspired
2 d: someone or something that inspires

I was asked to share the sources of my inspiration, so I started by looking up the meaning of the word. We all know talk about artistic inspiration, but there is another definition of the word relating to breath. Reading this, I realized that in my case, the anatomical act of inspiration is a big part of my artistic inspiration.

Sometimes in my studio I get surrounded by too many ‘things’ that are calling for attention. It can be difficult to focus and the mind wanders to the long lists of what needs to be tended to. I find that this is a great time to go the nature reserve and go for a walk and breathe in fresh air and beautiful designs from nature.

We all have things that move us emotionally - the power and grace of an eagle, the wonder of how a dancer moves, architecture, so many things catch our eyes and move us to create. These things can translate into wonderful design possibilities and the experience of each of them can feel very big and very powerful.

For me, artistic inspiration is usually a very quiet experience. It can be as simple as just holding a 1000-year-old pottery shard in my hand and thinking about the hands that made that amazing work without all the bells and whistles that we have available to us now. How can I use that in my work to honor that ancient artist? Sometimes I will pick up something on walk in the reserve and notice its design and its beauty. In the end, it all boils down to slowing down enough to look around and notice things we normally take for granted. Breathe deep, walk slow, and look with new eyes.

Being an artist in this day it is so easy to surround yourself with ‘cyber inspirations’ but for me nothing will ever replace the physical bond of being connected to the natural world.

I hope my thoughts will inspire and help you!

1 comment:

Lora Hart said...

What a wonderful post Ruth! Thanks so much for sharing both what fires your Muse, and photos of your lovely nature reserve.

It looks like you have a piece of Anasazi pottery? I have one too, and just haven't been able to bring myself to use it in a piece of jewelry. It's such an honor to be able to fondle something that such ancient hands created.