Inspiration Comes From Everywhere and Every Thing!

By on February 17, 2010
Print Friendly

I’ve presented the title to this article as a quote because it has been my email ‘signature line’ for more than a year, to answer to the question I am most often asked:

“Where does your inspiration come from?”

This is the most frequently asked and can be the most frustrating question for almost all artists in every medium, (be they authors or writers, painters, sculptors, actors, architects, chefs, clothing designers, etc.). The various reasons can include that those who admire our work for whatever reason, would like to know if their thoughts align with those of the artist, or to have more of a story/explanation for the way an artist created and then named a certain work.

An artists’ inspiration does come from every ‘Where’ and every ‘Thing’! Many artisans, whom I have the honor to know and to work with, take photographs of objects, people, and landscapes; every ‘Thing’ that catches their eye. They carry a small digital camera or a cell phone camera every ‘Where’ they go, so a possible inspiration for future works is rarely lost.

Resulting Pendant:  'Agate Butterfly'

Resulting Pendant: 'Agate Butterfly'


Butterfly Pendant Inspiration

Some folks always have a small sketch book within reach for the same reasons, as often a simple rendering of the lines within an architectural structure or the way a tree branches that needs to be drawn to be remembered. One freelance writer friend frequently begins his stories at the end and works backwards, while listening to a certain type of music, and another starts her adventures in the middle and then fills in the details on each side, (similar to laying out a stone and some corresponding beads for a piece and then figuring out how to make them all come together).

Humm . . . pendant frame?

Humm . . . pendant frame?

Occasionally, raw emotion is the total reason for a design and by using whatever shapes and colors the artist visualizes as their mind-set, he or she combines all of the ingredients with their art form, resulting in a physical release. Then there are the folks to whom I personally refer as ‘scientific artists’. These individuals actually ‘see’ their designs within written mathematical formulas and the like, transferring them into physical works of art!

Maybe Earrings?

Maybe Earrings?

Many years ago, I worked as an advertising artist and one of my resources was a collection of ‘cut-books’. These were published volumes that contained a selection of black and white line drawings which an artist could use for free, to help speed up certain jobs. Using this idea/inspiration within my jewelry training sessions, I cover the simple ways of creating your own inspirational ‘cut book’. First purchase an inexpensive photo album and then browse through the variety of catalogues received in your mail, and cut out every ‘Thing’ that you find interesting. (These items may include nick-knacks, prints of framed pictures or posters, the pattern of a piece of clothing, a colorful vegetable dish, etc). Another idea is to ask a local salon to save all of their old magazines for you! These can include many typical subject choices, such as fashion, wedding, and prom, but also wildlife and sports titles, where you will find ‘Things’ you may not have considered ‘inspirational’ before! Put all of these pictures into that photo album, in a random order, (upside down, sideways), creating collage pages. When your brain hits ‘artists’ block’, prepare your favorite beverage, relax and open your ‘cut book’. Look through it from the front first, then turn it upside-down and look at it again! You will be amazed at what can ‘happen’ within your designs. (I do have to warn you though, often a design idea that you ‘think’ you are going to make sometimes develops a mind-of-it’s-own during the creation process, and when completed looks nothing like your original plan!)


A page from my 'Cut-book'

The ‘inspiration’ for this article comes from Wire-Sculpture’s ‘Inspired Druzy’ wire jewelry design contest, for which I currently judged the $1800 Grand Prize. What an amazing chore! ‘Amazing’, because the required 150-300 word essays, (describing where the contestant obtained ‘their’ inspiration for the design they created), and the appropriate ‘titles/names’ of each piece, (that ties the written inspiration into each artists’ piece), are wonderful. ‘Chore’, because these pieces have got to be some of the most creative I’ve seen in a while and I had a most difficult time deciding which would win one of the largest prizes ever offered in an Internet wire jewelry design contest!

The Official Judging Process

The requirements to enter this contest were basically simple. Each participant was required to send both a front and a back picture of each design they wished to submit, accompanied by a 150-300 word essay that described the inspiration for their design, along with an appropriate title. The only required purchase was for the participant to have bought their Druzy cabochon from Wire-Sculpture, (where prices run from just $17 to $48 depending on the size). My judging was based on 100 total points; 30 for originality, 30 for creativity and 40 points for the ‘inspiration’ that combines each design with its’ essay and name.

(I do have to mention that several folks did not send a picture of the backside of their design, which was needed to properly judge the creativity of the techniques executed, and that a ‘formal’ essay was not required, just the artists’ thoughts that transmitted into their piece.)

When YOU view all of these amazing pieces, please take the time to read the accompanying essay to discover if you can ‘see’ through that particular artists’ eyes! From the spectacular and calm ocean and water themes, (including delightful Pond Scum), to foods, music, stars and star ships, odes to beloved pets, vacation memories and pieces that were from the artists’ heart of hearts, you will enjoy every piece more with their story and then realize just how very difficult my decision was.

We invite you all to please participate in the Popular Vote. Just click and vote for your favorite! (Voting ends on September 10, 2009.)

I’d also like to take this opportunity to publicly thank each and every wire artist who participated in this contest. My goal was to encourage you to ‘think outside of your box’, enabling you to see your designs in a different way, resulting in more creativity for YOU and hopefully better sales at your upcoming festivals and shows.

Of course, these are just a few of the ways many artisans answer that age-old question. I am sure that many of you have your own personal techniques, and I invite you to comment on this post and share them with our ‘Wonderfully Wired World’!

Here’s wishing all of you Great Inspirations, (as for me, I’m already thinking of our next contest theme!)

Stay ‘Twisted’!



  1. avatar


    May 24, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    It’s funny, but I get inspiration from the music.
    Hard to explain how I “get there from here”, but when it comes to
    working with wire, rhythm is central. I daresay it’s key
    to most jewelry no matter what medium you are using.

    Music inspires my fiction writing, too… but it’s a different process
    mostly involving lyrics or mood. While mood obviously effects the jewelry
    outcome, a good deal is about translating tempo and progressions from one mood, key or beat to another.

    Probably not very helpful to the newbie, but… says a bit about me, I’m guessing. :)

    • avatar


      May 24, 2010 at 9:34 pm

      oh yeah V – music is a must!!

  2. avatar


    June 19, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    I have just started wire work jewellery,being new I get inspiration from lots of things, but I love Nature, the Butterfly is beautiful.
    Where did that gorgeous stone come from ?, I would love to get some the colours are just glorious.

    • avatar


      June 21, 2010 at 12:57 am

      Thanks Bella, the stone my husband used to make the butterfly is a single piece of banded agate that I believe we found in New Mexico. He used a diamond band saw to the shape.

  3. Pingback: Why Use a Designer's Notebook? | Jewelry Making Instructions

  4. avatar

    Angela Friesen

    November 16, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Hi all,

    I have several notebooks, but I rarely sketch in them. I work mostly with stringing techniques, but I also make rosary links. Often my inspiration is 80’s music titles (mostly 80’s music so far), or suggested by the beads I use, which ofter come out suggest themselves as I’m working. I used to use one for writing down the materials I used in a particular piece, but these days I’ve gone digital (sales invoice template in MS’s Excel 2003, just in case anyone is interested.)

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention Inspiration Comes From Everywhere and Every Thing! | Jewelry Making Instructions --

  6. avatar

    Aurea Durfey

    March 14, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Nice one! I should be so lucky!