Where Does Inspiration Come From?

All pics taken in Kensington London U.K.

‘Everywhere!’ is the sweeping answer to that vast question. Inspiration comes from everywhere. For instance, I saw a bolt of grey felt fabric this autumn and fell in love with it, so much that I considered designing a tailored winter coat around it even though I know felt fabric is meant for that. I’ve kept going back to the store scrutinizing at it, longing to have some use for it. As a minimalist, I try to not buy things before I designate a function to them.

Coincidentally on my next flight, in walked a gentleman with this large brown felt travel bag. Instantly, I knew what I’d use the grey felt fabric I’d been eyeing would be good for. I bet you felt fabric might be a good material for things like bags in the event that I rule out real leather for ethical reasons. Nylon would be yet another good alternative, but I’m yet to research the ethics behind either fabric. In any case, this large brown felt bag pinged well with the lovely shade of grey I had in mind.

Occasionally I’ll spot someone at the airport or someone will walk onto my flight and I’ll have a holly-molly ‘she looks good!’ moment. Slowly you start to notice details that make an outfit or an item stand out. Suffice it to say it’s all in the details. I’ve been known to sneak out my phone while out on a stroll to snap pics of any and everything that inspires, wall posters, a flowerbed, a bike stand, anything.

One thing I’m learning about inspiration though is that it cannot be rushed, forced, or fabricated. You must wait patiently for it to come or you’ll be stuck for a long time trying to force it -trust me, I’ve learnt that the hard way. And in true ‘when it rains it pours’ spirit, inspiration rarely comes in drips and dribbles; when the floodgates open, it flows.

Inspiration can come from the oddest places, the most mundane processes, and sometimes it rises out of necessity. You want something but can’t find it anywhere so you decide to make it yourself -indeed necessity is the mother of all inventions.

Inspiration can come from within as well as from without, there is no right or wrong source. Sometimes it’s an internal picture that forms foggily in our minds then clarifying over time, and other times it’s a muse that inspires us. There are times too when you can’t explain it but you know you had a stroke of genius, those are the times when the divine strikes.

When we create in the zone, paintings like Picasso’s emerge. Sculptures like Michelangelo’s David are carved. When asked where he got the inspiration, Michelangelo simply responded: I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Such is the power of creating while in the zone.

As creators, our job is to continue to seek inspiration in both open and hidden places. Keep our eyes open for that look, keep our ears open for that sound, keep our hearts open for that feeling… The knowing will come. When you strike gold, you will know it.

My son encourages me to practice daily. He challenged me to sketch a design a day for thirty days and see what happens. I’m embarrassed to admit that I am yet to stick it out all the way through, but I do know he’s telling the truth. Inspiration finds us as we seek it out, and we pursue it, as we practice and perfect whatever it is we’re already working on. Like Mr. Grey likes to say, you cannot fail to get ‘there’ if you put in the work -he’s the most positive human being I know.

So let’s stay on that journey until we know where we’re going, fumble along with me until we all get ‘there’. Have at it until it dawns on you, until it breaks open for you and the you can smell the fragrance of doing your best work of creating while in the zone. Cheers, Grey ღ  All pics taken in Kensington London by Mr. Grey.

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