Thursday, September 30, 2010

How do we come up with NEW ideas? Where do we get our inspiration?

I had another pottery/design related dream the other night. Many of my ideas (good and BAD) seem to come to me in this way. Sounds sort of “Hand of God ish” (but if you know me, that is not it at all, it’s just random neurons firing). These “dreams” usually come around the time that my mind finally starts to drift off into unconsciousness, but before I fall completely down the rabbit hole, I will get a flash out of nowhere, usually an image, of a new way to possibly approach a problem I have been mulling over in the very deep dark recesses of my mind, or even just something completely new that I have not even been considering. I am not one for sketching, never have been, so sometimes these ideas get lost for a couple of days until my brain unearths them again. I do try to sketch them occasionally, but I can never seem to get down in 2D what my inner eye clearly sees in 3D. Anyway, back to the dream the other night. My sister asked me a while ago if I would make the centre pieces for her wedding next year, and being the best big sister in the world, I said sure, no problem, what do you want? She wants a simple single stem vase out of white white white porcelain, approximately 9 or so inches high. Not being one to do things the easy way, I don’t want to just extrude hollow cylinders and glaze them boring. I got her to accept a little blue (not much), and perhaps a little lustre. My vision was that of a very narrow cylinder, maybe 2 inches wide, 9 inches tall, thrown without a base, and perhaps a little wonky (not dead straight). The base of the vase will be a circular slab slightly wider than the cylinder. The top is a thrown, shallow domed cap with a narrow neck just wide enough for a single flower stem. I will attempt to make a few variations for her to have a look at and make her decision.
I have had a few of these dreams, and they don’t always work out, but the ideas linger and will sometimes morph into something completely different once I get to the studio and start trying to flesh it out in clay.
I often wonder how different artists get fresh ideas for their work. I am lazy, and I don’t like doing the boring stuff like research (I do surf the web, but that is pretty passive research, and can be done when you don’t want to do something even more tedious, like laundry or dishes). Some authors say that they feel like they are just a conduit for a “higher power” that is writing through them. That sounds to me like they have no talent except for typing, I think that is a lame answer. But how does everyone else create something completely new from nothing? I guess my work is pretty internal, I don’t seek a lot of outside inspiration for what I do (unless I am ripping something off that I saw on YouTube for a pottery demo).

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