Finding DIY inspiration in our digital world is as easy as clicking a mouse or opening an app. The only downside is that the things that we draw inspiration from on Pinterest, Houzz or other places is that these ideas have already been completed and we are just replicating them or modifying them for our own variations.
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been used through all the ages.” Mark Twain
Where do you find true inspiration? Inspiration for me is everywhere! Inspiration is like a seed that contains people, places and things that I have experienced or been exposed to. That creative seed gets planted in my brain and when the design opportunity presents itself, the seed bursts forth with just the inspiration that is need! You never know when or in what form, but when it clicks or guides you in a certain direction, you mentally draw from it. One of the greatest inspirations for me is contemporary art and any opportunity to see, experience and spend time with it only helps with the creative process of design.
On a recent trip to Washington DC, we got to take some free time to check out the new exhibition Wonder at the Renwick Gallery. Any time visiting our nation’s capital includes a visit to one of my favorite places, the Hirshhorn Sculpture Gardens, and since that had already been checked off of the list, the Renwick Gallery exhibition was up next. The collection includes a personal favorite, Patrick Daugherty, so I knew that it was something that would be worth it. There is a little there for everyone and I even found a couple of new artists that inspired me! Here is a snippet:
Patrick Daugherty is amazing and all of his installations are made with collected willow branches from the surrounding area. The branches had to be put into a freezer so that all of the bugs were gone! One of the most astounding things about his work is that they are all self supporting; there are no fasteners or even attachments to the floor for support.
When you first experience this piece from afar, it looks rather plain. When you approach it and start looking a little closer, you will notice that these are made from 3″x 5″ plain index cards laying flat on top of one another! The pictures don’t really do justice to the amount of work that went into this installation.
Gabriel does some amazing things with thread and light! The thread is wound around pegs on the floor and the parabolic curve effect on the installation is unbelievable.
This installation is actually made from a plaster cast of a 150 year old tree! The tree is the same age as the Renwick Gallery and the video of the artist plastering a tree cast is pretty amazing! The cast was then removed and all of the little, individual wooden pieces were made. Hundreds of volunteers helped make the wooden pieces and put this piece together. At the end, the piece is sanded to remove all of the individual influences and make it a cohesive, collective work. The greatest part is that at the end of the exhibition, the entire piece will be returned to the woods with the tree that was cast and will decompose over time to complete the circle of life.
Maya Lin wanted to show how we may look at a little body of water where we are and not realize that it is connected to a much larger watershed. Growing up, her father was an experimental glass blower and they used these little glass marbles in the glassblowing process. The entire Chesapeake Bay watershed map is laid out on the floor and up the walls! Drawing from a childhood memory is the epitome of planting a seed!
During this holiday season, take some time to become inspired! It truly is all around us and all we need to do is to look around and get some seeds planted!