In the last many weeks I have had the treat of experiencing several cultural events that felt amazingly pre-covid-like. Sure, in the indoor moments we're all still wearing masks, but what an absolute pleasure to mingle again! To be introduced to new people in person, to see live theater in person, to walk around and experience an art exhibit in person, to feel part of a crowd again. And when the event spills onto the sidewalk and the masks come off-- to mingle, chit-chat, make chance meetings, and feel each other's vibes face to face! For me these are nourishing experiences.
What inspiration I pull from these moments. And what a mystery it is how these inspirations go into making objects, creating concepts, and building bodies of work. There is not a direct correlation from one thing to the other; work that a certain inspired moment provokes may be completely unrelated to that which caused the feeling of inspiration in the first place. The inspiration is an energy. The energy triggers the making. The ideas may have been percolating inside for years or they may be spontaneous, and they may come from all of the stories and baggage that do not even come to mind in the moment. But the energy is stimulating because energy isn't stagnant.
Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
On one particular evening recently, I was at my first large-gathering gallery opening since the pandemic restrictions were enacted. The vibes were palpable and the energy was festive. In these moments our senses are peaked-- we are open to chance meetings and we see things differently. It is a very different experience for example to see an art exhibit at the opening event or see it with two or three others in the room or even to see it alone. They are all good experiences, but they tune us into different things.
A relative once asked me what inspires me visually and I replied: certain kinds of interior design, African textiles, Japanese ikat, indigo shibori, big full flower blooms, clouds, visits to museums, Guatamalan weaving, patterned tiles, trees, beautifully constructed clothing, interesting color combinations that I happen upon, and on and on. He couldn't wrap his head around me seeing or experiencing those things, being inspired by those things entering my mind only to have completely unrelated ceramic jewelry and photographs and drawings come out. But that's how stimulation works. At least for me. It is a process, the process of acting on inspiration.