In Part 2 of our series, Carol and I share our own personal stories of inspiration, creativity and the part both play in our work and lives.
What inspires the direction you take in your work?
Carol: Its hard to narrow it down, but most often I'm inspired by the stones themselves - their color, shape, texture, properties - their esssence moves me to design jewelry that brings them to life. Each February, I make my yearly pilgrimage to the Tucson gem shows where I find the most unique stones that inspire my designs.
Sandy: Life changes all of the time and we can see artists evolve and change in their work as well. Appreciating what is all around us is my best advice. I seek out new opportunities to find beauty in everyday life. Currently, water is something that inspires me, in all forms. It may be the power and form in the ocean wave or a droplet in a murky puddle.
Tell us about a time when inspiration struck and moved you to create something special
Carol: I had just been making jewelry when I took a trip to Amsterdam. While window shopping, I saw the most beautiful necklaces that I had ever seen. Each necklace combined several strands of different stones, pearls, and crystals and they were magical. As I walked around the store I knew that this was a direction I wanted to take. As soon as I got home, I started creating my own version of these multi-strand necklaces, adding my own aesthetic and color combinations. My design have evolved over the years, but Im still drawn to mixing colors and materials in new ways.
Sandy: I remember the first time I wanted to be behind the camera, and not in the picture: my mother was attempting to frame a shot of me and my sister. It was taking way too long to I kindly grabbed the camera and took the picture. I vowed to learn what seem to perplex my mother and many others who picked up a camera. From that day I developed a habit of seeing the world as if it were a picture.
How do you stay inspired to create?
Carol: I would have to say that traveling provides the most inspiration to me. Putting myself in a different place, a different culture, different surroundings - all of these things help jar me out of my usual way of thinking and move me to something different. It really is true that when you change your perspective, you can change your direction and start to see things differently. When I travel, I also check out the jewelry shops and museums. Design reflects the culture, lifestyles and the place itself. That always inspires me. Seeing how an artist has dome something just a lilts differently than I do it. It allows me to go back to my studio and start experimenting with new ideas. I often say to myself, "why didn't I think of that!" But then, I remember that I've also created new ideas and designs that are unique to me.
Sandy: It helps that I always been a wanderer, often venturing away from the crowd. This provides a unique option to capture something others may miss. For instance, I was on a tour of Peru and we stopped along the roadside where there were a couple of vendors. While the others were shopping or photographing the craftsmen, I found a Peruvian toddler with a little truck busying himself off to the side, up against a beautiful mountain scape. I have been very fortunate to be able to travel to some great places. Travel has definitely been my muse and it has taken me to beauty, culture, nature, and encounters that guide me to imagine and create.
You've had the opportunity to work with clients on commissioned work projects. How do you meld their desires with your own creativity?
Carol: It's easiest when a client tells me to just do whoever I think is best. that freedom allows me to be my most creative. I try to ask a lot of questions, to see what my client likes, what the wear now, what they're looking for, to try to determine what would make them happiest. I've been fortunate that most of my clients trust my aesthetic and abilities, and let me do what I do best.
Sandy: I love the challenge of a commissioned project. First, I listen to the client. Then I absorb their ideas and try to add my own vision. In a recent project, I was asked to create an image of a place that is very "photographed". My client stated that it did not need to be recognizable, however, would mean something to the recipients who were engaged at this location. Having a happy client and an image I can be proud of is most rewarding.
Even people who don't work in traditionally creative fields want to be inspired. What advice can you give to help fuel their creativity and find inspiration in their daily lives?
Carol: Read our first blog! In addition, remember that everyone is creative in some way and its a muscle that need to be used. Start with the intention of looking for inspiration - get off autopilot and start seeing what's around you.
Sandy: Yes! We hope our inspiration series is helpful. Also, have mindset that you can create. Listen to music, take an art class, re-ignite a cultural interest, start a new hobby. As a matter of fact, conceptual thinking, i.e. using our right brain, begins with concentrating on creating something beautiful.