Monday, July 9, 2012

Influence or Inspiration?

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

Carved pillars at the Natural
History Museum entrance, London.
Inspiration for a series of beads?
I have a couple of jewelry maker friends who intentionally don't like to look at the work of other artists for fear their creative muse will subconsciously take on the attributes of the admired baubles. I, on the other hand, am a notorious surfer. I have pinboards, and favorites, and journals filled with tearsheets featuring the work of makers I admire. I lurk and stalk and search them out. I travel to galleries all around the world via sites like Klimt and blogs like 18K. I love to absorb as much creative input as I can possibly access.

But not to copy. Oh no! I keep my sub conscious in check while I do what I call Mindful Observation. I like to activate my inner inspector by looking at the details of any type of imagery that catches my eye, whether it was made by a jeweler, a ceramist, or a carpenter. For example, I've gotten ideas for clasps and suspension methods (how a focal piece might be hung) from looking at gates, door frames and lamps. And yes, I get general design ideas from looking at other peoples' jewelry.
Lisa Jane Grant. Not only is
this milled MokumeGane
necklace a great variation on
the lentil form, but the angled
jump rings are a wonderfully
functional design element.

You should try it. The next time you come across an image that totally captures your imagination, stop and look at all the individual components that make up the whole. Which ones are you particularly drawn to? Can you distill the essence of those details and incorporate them into your own practice? Try drawing variations of the theme.

Which side of the divide do you fall on? Do you love learning from others that went before? Or do you feel that reviewing the design ideas of other artists will corrupt your creativity?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that the work of others excites me and makes me work to create something that I think is wonderfull to the eye. I guess it works, because my customers are always saying (I just don't understand how you come up with all these different designs). Thanks for the opportunity to tell my side. Wendy D (Firelite Designs)