"I so admire how creative you artists are. Where do you get your inspiration?"
Good question. Every time I am asked that question I am flummoxed. Inspiration is a tricky thing. When I am very lucky, or very good I walk into just the right spot in my studio and ZOT! a truly great idea comes to me in a flash. The 3 rings in my top banner were a marvelous Zot moment.
My friend and fellow jeweler, Jack, challenged me to get over my prejudice to diamonds. I'd always thought they were over-hyped, stupid stones, boring, transparent, clear, no color; plus there are millions of them around. Bah humbug, who needed them when there are so many other fine stones in the world. But Jack nudged some of my thinking around and I started relooking at diamonds.
My main gripe with diamonds is that much of the jewelry made with them, makes it all about The Diamond. I am a metal worker. I want my work to be all about well... My Work and the diamond's just a punctuation to my designs.
My 3 rings above came from this double-dare of Jack's. The idea formed in a quick moment of insight, fully-developed. I even found some colored diamonds to use. Bliss. I regularly thank him for his goading.
But mostly my designs are hard fought.
I am currently working on a design I know isn't that good. But the damn thing will not vacate my head until I make it. I know it will end up in my scrap pile...I have days like this. Its like clearing a plugged drain. Once I have design out of my head and at least partially realized I can go on to other things. I have a whole pile of dumb ideas that I poke at from time to time, trying to figure out why I made them. And sometimes they lead to inspiration, often not.
Usually my designs are evolutions from past work. No Eurekas! just hard slogging work. I make something like it or love it, look at it, start to examine it, think about it, and have a better idea of how to do it next time. This drives Dave-the-husband crazy. Why must I keep messing with great designs? Why do I move on to my next NEW IDEA, when I have so many old great ideas I can still make? I dunno. I think that's what it means to be an artist. We are always looking ahead to see what's there, how we can do it better, how it can change, evolve, morph into something else.
So when I go back to work, and I do find its work; divine inspiration is a rare event, no matter how good I am, or how many different places I stand in my studio waiting for it to happen.