Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Creative Process :: Inspiration

[Photo found here. Scroll down to the middle. Can I just say that the whole ceremony and display looks Very Chinese? Actually, can I just say that her whole outfit is Very Chinese? Man, I miss those Chinese fashions sometimes. You could get away with wearing the randomest stuff there ... because no matter what you wore, the minute you stepped onto a bus or crowded street you'd be bound to find somebody dressed even more randomly. It was awesome. Most liberating thing, fashion-wise, I have ever done for myself, living in that madness for an entire year. It completely recalibrates your sense of what's "normal" and "risky" in fashion. Highly recommended.]

When I look at this photo, the first thing I notice is those sleeves. That looks like stupendous refashion potential, of the variety I'd expect Antoinette to bust out of that genius head of hers.

Thing is, I don't think I'd actually wear the cape/capelet/whatever it's called. However, I can see that detail - the sleeves, with those excessive cuffs! - staying in my mind and percolating for days ... weeks ... months ... years ... before one day it emerges in some project or other. Take this skirt, for example. No joke, the skirt that inspired it was posted about by Amanda about two year's prior, and if you look through the "Crafting inspiration" folder on my hard drive, you'd probably find another 3 variations on it before I settled on my own version.

Anyways, that was a slight tangent but what I'm trying to say is, I've noticed that for me, my inspiration comes from the details. A ruffle. Some buttons. A piece of lace. A scrap of fabric. Bias trim. And from there my mind starts turning over the possibilities, trying to figure out how to incorporate it into an entire project. In essence, I tend to build up whole garments from a single detail. This shirt -- all about the fabric that I used in the trim. This cardigan -- it was all about the yarn, and a fuzzy notion about big flowers. This scarf -- well heck, I just wanted to make a scarf with goldfish in it. This skirt -- all about working in the polka dot trim.

It's the same with the way that I write. Usually I'm inspired by some flicker of emotion, a passing image on the street, and off I go. Other people, I think, work in the opposite direction - an overall concept, some big notion of what they're trying to accomplish. Like Ali had a "look" in mind with her latest refashion [which, by the way, I ADORE.] ... I would probably stare at that, get sucked in by the polka dots, and then stew for ages about how to work navy polka dots into a black cardigan. Or writers, they have some big piece of humanity they want to explore. Me, I start with the small stuff. Who knows why? All I know is that this is what makes me tick.

I finally got off my swollen arse and finished up that fourth and final (October) refashion! Here's the "midpoint" photo, once I photograph the finished object this weekend I'll post about it ASAP. It's very satisfyingly granny chic, and unlike last time, I think it falls closer to the "chic" end of the spectrum than the "granny" ...

And if you're curious, this one started with the yarn. However it is the bou-TONS, as Jamie-who-gifted-them pronounces them, that are exactly what makes it look so good.


Ali said...

I enjoyed this post as well. In the Creative Habit, the author says there are people who view life (and their chosen craft(s)) on either a macro or micro level. Sounds like you're definitely a micro gal ;)

I think, with clothes at least, I get excited by function, which is related to construction. Not only the way the garment itself is constructed, but the way it will help me construct my life (comfort, movement, confidence etc.). I think that's why I like such basic clothes and I stress versatility. But it hinders me, too, because there's plainness when there could be more interest. I see that as my challenge and the cardi you liked and my planned twinkle skyline skirt are attempts to get there. Plus I finally found a sweater that matches a gorgeous yoke some talented gal gave me ;)

In writing, I begin with place. We all exist somewhere. Hmm, and as I write this, your post is making me make the connection: I'm obsessed with environment and the reality of how our environments shape us. Wow. Minor epiphany.

Minnado said...

Another great post Jessica! If you had a magazine column I would buy that magazine. I also take bits of inspiration form details and store them away in my mind,and my notebooks, stew over them, return to the source images, and try and think how I can adapt them for my own use. I am slowly learning that an image I may initially like may look better on someone else or not suit my shape. It is tricky not to be seduced by a good photo, lighting, beautiful person wearing clothes etc
BTW those photos of the Asisan games openign are fab.