Monday, March 02, 2009

when one thing becomes another

husband and i went for a walk in the woods on sunday. our real purpose on such a walk is what we like to call forestry. because we always spend some time liberating small beech trees to bring home for our hedges. we're thinning them out, helping the forest, you know, forestry. husband is making a labyrinth in front of our house (we hate being like the neighbors, you see) and it requires quite a lot of beech hedge. we don't mind waiting for it to grow up, so we bring home really small saplings from our forest walks. you can see the beech trees above, they're the ones with the brown leaves that don't fall off 'til the new ones push them off in spring. the ones you can see in the photo are larger than the ones we take, those are like only a foot high.

anyway, on our walk, i kept stopping to take photos of things like seriously tiny mushrooms:

i am amazed at how there are always mushrooms of some kind growing in this forest, no matter what the weather or when you go. year round, there are mushrooms or fungi of some sort. i only know of edible ones in the autumn, but there are probably some you can eat year-round. it's just that you don't want to mess around with that if you don't really know them well. 

we got to talking about inspiration, which, as you well know, is on my mind of late. i said i felt driven to take pictures of mushrooms for some reason that i didn't yet understand, but that i felt it would come to me eventually. and i wondered aloud if there was some way to fast track that process, because right now, it seems like it's taking an awfully long time from inspiration to product, so to speak.  

just as an example, two years ago, when peter, my father-in-law died, we got these ceramic "odin's eyeballs" that had belonged to him. odin is the head god in nordic mythology.  part of the story, which i need to do a bit more looking into, is that odin dropped his eyeball into a well, in order to gain the gift of knowledge. i don't remember the exact reason that peter had these eyeballs (there were several sets, we got one of them), but it also had to do with seeing clearly after the breakup of his long marriage in the late 90s. in any case, they have held a strange fascination for me since they came into our home. they reside on the window sill in our addition and i am drawn to them often. one snowy day, i took them out and took some pictures of them and we used them for our snowman's eyes.

combined with the memory of my friend michellea's fantastic i-eye collage and heavily influenced by this photo from flickr (and who wouldn't be inspired by sandra juto?), i have been feeling that i need to do something with eyes. and somehow, all of this input clicked into place on friday and i came up with this pillow, which will be the first item i list in my etsy shop later this week, together with two more i'm working on that are of the same theme.

but it took me a really long time to get to this point (especially if you take into account that the first inspiration came clear back in 1990). if i really want to have an etsy shop and be part of a local artist's group and contribute something to eyebuzz's first 'zine, i'm going to need to fast track this inspiration a bit. (i'm trying to find my way here and any advice is appreciated, by the way.) 

yesterday, in an attempt to get on this creative fast track, i gave myself a little exercise. i saw this beautiful embroidery by the ever inspiring margaret ooman of resurrection fern on flickr :

and i gave myself the assignment of making one like it from all of the scraps that were laying on the table after a weekend's worth of creativity. what i thought was that i would imitate it, that i would make a nest and a bird and eggs. that it would, of course, reflect my scraps, so it wouldn't be an exact copy, but that i would somehow end with something similar. well, something interesting happened along the way. i began by making the nest, but when it was finished, i saw something else. i saw a bowl. and among my scraps, i spotted a red felt circle, which demanded to be trimmed into apples. and in the end, this is what i created (#24):

i can hear the echo of margie's lovely nest, but i did end up making something my own. which i guess is what inspiration is about. and i did manage to fast-track the process--since i saw the nest on flickr on friday and made this already on sunday. so perhaps there's hope if you just push yourself a bit. if not, there's surely a ton of things i've been pondering in the back of my mind from the inspiration gleaned years ago, if i can just coax it out. 

i promise to stop harping on about creativity very soon. i'll start my new job and get out of the house and be with people and the navel gazing will surely taper off.  thanks for bearing with me in the meantime!


Barb said...

Your eye cushion is very interesting and your apple bowl embroidery so sweet. Good luck with your shop! Barb xo

beth said...

maybe that's how I could become more productive...I'll start giving myself assignments and see what happens ! Thanks for the idea!

Char said...

love the apple bowl!! and it's amazing where the well of inspiration comes from...wait, odin dropped his eyeballs in a well for wisdom..we go to the well. You're searching for inspiration wisdom. I think I got it all. Brilliant.

tangobaby said...

The eyeball in the tree branch is really captivating me for some reason. I think I need to get lost in the forest with a trail of breadcrumbs!

Unknown said...

Oh, my sweet dear! You are not and for me have never been a "burdon to bare!"... I like your nest/bowl creation. I think I like best about it, the textures I see, then the colors, then the subject matter! ...Oh, and also I like the way it added illistration to your Posting. When ever I visit your Blog, I feel as if I'm visiting a friend.& thank you for that too!

sandra said...

oh wow!!!! this made me smile big :)

Just Jules said...

Ok, we haven't known each other long enough for this much brutal honesty... however, sometimes you just got ta say it - take it or leave it cuz you can ;)

I think ----> You need to stop. Stop thinking about it so much. When you make an issue out of something like creativity you then have an issue on your hands.

Just knock it off!
Creativity is not something that you can just force - you can conjure up possibly, but not force. It is either there or it isn't.

You can seek inspiration - not creativity.

You ARE creative and incredibly talented... just let it go and let it flow.

Your bloggy friend,

Just Jules said...

Don't hate me.... it took a longtime to hit the publish comment button on that last comment... ahhhh.

julochka said...

hi jules--point totally taken and it's exactly i wrote what i wrote in the last paragraph. i just have to get these things out of my system. :-)

Bee said...

You and your husband are coppicing -- well, kind of.

That is the tiniest mushroom I've ever seen.

The eyeballs (plus story) are very intriguing.

Unknown said...

This coincides wonderfully with a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)I just saw on She states that "genius" comes from without, flowing through us, and our job is just to "show up" and get to work. On any given day the divinity may shine through and on other days, it's just another day.
I really liked the pillow.