What a charming painted face…
Photo by Stephanie Garrison.
Today I went to the bi-annual artist shindig Glitterfest in Santa Ana, California, where I often purchase vintage buttons – among other artsy materials. In honor of my new stash, I penned a somewhat poorly-conceived and rule-challenged Haiku:
Vintage button rack
Charming samples I shall buy and
Craft new finery.
Let’s hear it for artistic gatherings, fests, retreats and other creatively-bent events. They allow us to source unique and personally meaningful materials for our own projects!
Although music is my primary source of inspiration – just listening to the right album can set my mind wandering into fabulous worlds of my own making – it isn’t my only means of creative sourcing.
Silent movies are my second-most preferred gateway into idea surfing. Why? They are exotic enough to be from another time, but feature characters and situations that are still a part of the human condition. The musical scores accompanying them have no words to distract from the melodic story unfolding. And some of the sets and costumes are pure fantasy!
Oddly enough, exposing myself to this visual and aural culture really helps to fill up my creative gas tank, so to speak. I never feel stale or artistically stalled when there is another film to be discovered. And that helps my mind’s eye to dream up fanciful new whimsies.
Another Monday night in, viewing Antiques Roadshow on PBS. Aside from the historical insights and offbeat family lore, one of the delights of watching the show has to be the items destined for appraisal themselves. Whether it’s an elaborate Tabriz rug, early American pottery, Native American basket weaving, European dolls, or one-off pieces that could almost be described as precursors of “outsider art,” the show runs the gamut of decorative styles.
Two of my favorite genres are the fabulous vintage jewelry pieces, and the graphic impact of poster art. Sometimes an object will stay with me, and my mind will wander until I start to devise a project of my own. If inspiration is like a gas tank that needs to be filled in order to run the car, as it were, then hanging out with Antiques Roadshow is one of the many ways I prefer to “fill up.”
I just read an article in Salon that captured my heart. It’s about a new exhibit in Alabama that depicts ancient love tokens once exchanged by rich European lovers, the “eye miniature.” Because they only feature a hand-painted image of an eye, it’s practically impossible to identify whose enigmatic gaze is peering back. It’s an obscure tradition, but one that is still pursued to this day.
I adore antiques on so many different levels: they are a gateway into our past, feature craftsmanship often long-abandoned, source materials that are often impossible (if not illegal) to use, and are a fantastic inspiration for contemporary craft and design.
Here’s more about this very particular art form: