Thursday, February 28, 2013

Finding Inspiration Everywhere

Inspiration is a complicated creature. It can be striking, flighty, or seemingly gone.

When inspired, you may experience the light, happy feeling of creative spark. Or you may be thunderstruck by an idea and unable to concentrate on much else.

When uninspired, you may feel anxious and search restlessly for something to set your imagination afire. Or you may feel sad and empty, hoping that the muse finds you soon.

Sometimes inspiration is fleeting, like something you can feel brushing your palm but can never quite grasp. Sometimes inspiration seems nowhere to be found.

Other times inspiration is so abundant that it is difficult to take it all in. You may find yourself overwhelmed with ideas and scribbling furiously in a notebook to keep track of all of the brilliance unfolding around you. Such inspiration is beautiful, but rare.

Sometimes inspiration surprises you. Sometimes you have to go looking for it.

Inspiration is everywhere. That's the great news. If you look for it, you'll see it in a guest bedroom, on a store shelf, and even on the floor.

For the past few weeks, I've been taking photos of objects here and there that I think can inspire my soapmaking. I saw a cluster of candles on the nightstand at my mom and dad's house and thought, "I wonder if I could recreate those layers for a pretty autumn soap?" I saw vases, jars, storage boxes, and potholders while I was out shopping and the designs made me think of gradient layers, spoon swirls, and impressionist swirls. One night I happened to look down at the carpet of a casino and was struck by the thought that its pattern would look gorgeous as droplet swirls.

Here are those photos of everyday items that have inspired me:

Inspiration for layered soaps ...


Gradient layers ...

Spoon swirls ...

Impressionist swirls ...

... And droplet (or teardrop) swirls.
If I find myself needing an idea for a new project, I can refer back to these photos and hopefully feel a surge of creativity.

So make it a point to seek out inspiration wherever you go. Write it down when you find it. Or take photos. Sometimes it is difficult to capture inspiration in a photograph. Sometimes a photo will reveal much more than you remember seeing. Other times you'll just look like a weirdo snapping pictures of the floor. But it's always good to look for beauty in the world.

Where do you find inspiration, my soapy friends?

26 comments:

  1. I definitely understand the "feast or famine" when it comes to inspiration. It seems like food often gives me ideas for soap and botanicals of all sorts, plants, flowers, etc. Often I just visualize what the name of a fragrance looks like to me. I don't think I've ever made a conscious effort to look for inspiration, but looking at your pictures make me realize what I've been missing! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I know what you mean about visualizing what a scent looks like. For me, the name of a fragrance will often conjure up some idea as to how the soap ought to look. Other times I'll have a soap planned out in my head and pick a scent based on the design. Food is another great place to find inspiration. I've seen some soaps that look good enough to eat!

      Delete
  2. That is very clever, Jenny...I must think to take pictures when I see something that catches my eye! Lately I've seen some inspiration in product labels; everything from colorful shampoo bottle labels to food product labels. Craft magazine covers usually have lots of inspirational color combinations too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cee Gee! Hopefully the photos will help fuel new inspiration, or at least help me remember why I was inspired in the first place! I know what you mean about product labels. I have a bottle of face wash with a label that goes from deep purple to light purple to white, and I thought, "That would make such a pretty gradient layer." I imagine craft magazines are great places to find colorful inspiration, too!

      Delete
  3. I don't make soaps, but I do like to paint. Sometimes I find inspiration and sometimes inspiration finds me. It can be something as simple as a juxtaposition of colors,like maybe a green, stormy sea against a gray sky or the way a crystal makes prisms in a window. I used to have marble tiles in my hallway and I could see all kinds of images in the marble swirls. I think one of my best inspirations came, though, from some oil shimmering in a mud puddle. I had never seen such intense blues, purples, and greens -- very pretty! Can't wait to see what new soaps you come up with from your inspirations, Jer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mom! I remember loving the clear marbles with the ribbons of color running through them when I was a kid. The oil shimmering in a puddle is a good one - that would be awesome inspiration for slab mold swirls!

      Delete
  4. I get my inspiration most often from nature. I´m waiting for the snow to melt and and see the first flowers starting to bloom. I take long walks in the forest with my dog and I look at the colors and shapes different plants have. The other place for inspiration is the food and I always find myself thinking of what to put in soap when I´m at the grocery store.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comments, Marika! Nature is overflowing with inspiration. The sky is such an amazing canvas - storms, sunrises, sunsets. And flowers in bloom offer so many color combinations. And I know what you mean about the grocery store - many times I'll eye something and think, "I really ought to put that in soap ..."

      Delete
  5. I mainly got my inspiration from looking at other peoples gorgeous soaps. But that's not really inspiration because it means I try to recreate with a little bit of my own input. Your tip to take pictures is great, I'm gonna start doing that. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Marieke! I love looking at other people's soaps, too. It's fun to take a little bit of this and add a little bit of that to make something new. We all get inspiration from each other!

      Delete
  6. Love your inspirational tips, Jenny!They are gorgeous and making a soap like this is already art.
    I like to get my inspiration from nature, food, animals, things which are around me.
    Wish you a nice we!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Natalia! Soapmaking is an art - some soaps are so pretty that it almost seems a shame to use them! Nature, food, and animals are all great places to find inspiration. Have a great week, too!

      Delete
  7. Love the inspirational photos...I can definitely picture soaps being created from them! I read Marieke's comment and agree...I find that looking at other people's soaps is very inspiring. But I'll say that foods and nature are what inspire me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kalla! I'll have to try a zebra-strip spoon swirl soon, I think. And, yes, looking at other people's soaps can really spark some creativity. Food and nature are full of inspiration, too.

      Delete
  8. Great post and pics, Jenny! It's really good idea to have a camera with you all the time, never know where the inspiration can show up from. I suppose that colours/ colour composition everywhere around is what inspires me the most. Just like in your pictures!
    Have a nice weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Maja! I try to always have a camera on me, either my phone or my point-and-shoot. I take notice of color composition, too - bold, dramatic, contrasting colors, complementary colors, pretty pastels. I hope you are having a great weekend, too!

      Delete
    2. Oh, you're so diligent at pre-soaping works! I have my phone with me all the time,too, but suppose I don't use it as much as I could. (Btw, beside my phone I have my little girl with me almost all day long, so I always need a pair of eyes just for watching her- exhausting,ah!)

      Delete
  9. Love this post Jenny....great pictures! I am always looking for inspiration but you have me looking at things a little differantly. Just got a new Iphone so I will be the mad woman at Bed Bath & Beyond (my favorite store) taking pics of all the good stuff LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gloria! Have fun with your new phone. There should be lots of interesting and colorful things at BB&B to get your creative juices flowing!

      Delete
  10. What a grate idea to collect pictures of various objects and transform them into soap projects! I think that being inspired and creative are the base of soapmaking. Thanks for sharing this tip with us Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gordana! A couple of years back, I saw a stack of note paper at my brother's and sister-in-law's apartment - there was green, white, and pink paper, stacked in layers, one on top of the other. I immediately thought, "Cucumber Melon" and took out my camera. I must have looked crazy, taking pictures of a stack of paper. My dad got it, though. When I finished taking the photo, he asked, "Soap?" :)

      Delete
    2. Lol, that's cute Jenny! :D

      Delete
  11. What great inspiration! My favorites always seem to lean more towards the layered Ombre patterns. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anne-Marie! I love Ombre layers, too. The boxes that are stacked from greenish-blue to yellow is one of my favorite photos here - I'll have to try to make a blue-to-green-to-yellow gradient layer soap someday.

      Delete
  12. Jenny, what a great article and pictures to be inspired by. The colors are gorgeous, I would never think of such color combinations, I like them all can't pick a favorite. Jenny, don't laugh but do you know how I find soap inspiration?- FOOD especially PASTRIES. I find that no matter what soaps turn out looking like pastries. Now that I though about it I want to go to the local bakery and get inspirational pastries.

    xoxoxo
    Adina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Adina! I totally know what you mean about finding inspiration in food. I've seen some soaps that look like the real thing. Soap cupcakes, soap cakes. I've seen soaps that look like doughnuts, toast and jam, gummy bears, popcorn. Every once in a while I'll make a soap inspired by food (like my Hot Cocoa soap), but I haven't really tried to make one that looks like a food. I do love bakery scents - it's shame so many of them discolor. But, man, so they smell good!

      Delete

Spammy or inappropriate comments will be removed.