Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing
by Dale Armstrong
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.
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Butterfly picture
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Butterfly pendant
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).
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Iron Fence
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!

Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Chandilier
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!)
Stay 'Twisted'!

Dale/Cougar
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Cutbook
Judy Elles added:

Ever since I read this article by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong's and saw her picture of a wrought-iron fence, I've kept my eye out for inspirational ironwork. It wasn't until a recent day trip to Las Vegas that I found some interesting shapes I immediately thought about recreating in wire, both in iron and in tiling. So I hope you are inspired by the pictures I took, too!
We stayed at the Sunset Station, which had examples of ironwork everywhere. This lampstand in our hotel room provided me with the perfect way to hang my knitted earrings - a conundrum I'd been stuck on for weeks!
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Lamp and earrings
A desk and sconce at the Sunset Station. Perhaps a collar design?
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Table with sconce
Elevator tile at the Sunset Station (not ironwork, but still easily replicated in wire)
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Tile floor pattern
The Bellagio Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in Las Vegas. Located right on the Strip, among its other attractions, the Bellagio has an incredible wealth of ironwork and inspiration for wire designers! I highly recommend walking through it if you ever go to Las Vegas, it is worth it. Here are just a few shapes I captured:

Mosaic tile in the Bellagio - it could be a new cuff or necklace design!
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Bellagio tile
Here is some ornamental ironwork outside the Bellagio.
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Bellagio window
Elua III by Lia Herron Manuele strongly resembles ironwork, and proves that it can be adapted to wire jewelry!

Check out this pendant by Lia Herron Manuele, who posted it on our Facebook page. Called Elua III, it's made of brass, sterling silver wraps, and glass beads. It reminded me of the Bellagio's ironwork as soon as I saw it!

Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Ironwork similar piece
Balcony ironwork: so beautiful! The tips of the swirls are painted silver, but they looked like Swarovskis from a distance to me.
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Bellagio Balcony
I had the frame of this piece in the car with me in Vegas, but I couldn't decide what to put in the middle. Plus, I'd made it a little too big to be a pendant. So I turned it into an ironwork-inspired suncatcher!
Dale Armstrong's Inspiration Comes from Everywhere and Every Thing - , Wire Jewelry Design, Design, , Sun catcher
Those are just a few images that inspired me! I will be sure to have my camera with me when I travel again, and I can't wait to go back to Las Vegas for a longer trip!

Materials

Wire
Shop Now
Cabochons and Druzies
Shop Now
Add All Items to Cart

Tools

WireJewelry - Ultimate Wire-Pliers Jewelry Pliers with Case, Set of 5
G15-20
  • G15-20
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $170.72
  • Gold Club Price: $128.04
Add to Bag
Bench Block Helper with Steel and Nylon Blocks
DAP-500.30
  • DAP-500.30
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.95
  • Gold Club Price: $22.46
Add to Bag
Chasing Hammer with Wooden Handle, 1 1/8 Inch Face
G3-27
  • G3-27
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $13.95
  • Gold Club Price: $10.46
Add to Bag
Add All Items to Cart
  • Category: Design
  • Technique(s): Design, General Education