On Inspiration, Perspiration, and Paranoia

A few years ago I conned the manflesh (i.e., my husband) into making me some tables.  I wanted them to be SUPER sturdy (nothing annoys me like a wobbly table) and full of cubbyholes and compartments and other organizational wonders.  I have my moments where I am a stereotypical Virgo and can’t seem to concentrate when things are not in order.  He came through astoundingly well and made three tables, each one 4 feet long, 2 feet deep, and hip-high.  When he brought them in and they were all delicious and empty, I figured there was no way I would fill those bad boys up.  Yeah.  I was delusional.

Have some photographic evidence of my supply madness (I’m moving things around and currently facing a really empty-looking wall):


Nice, right?

I think I have mentioned before that I have a short attention span.  I really really do, but the above table looks like it represents my interests pretty well… There are canvases and roving, some clay doodads, lots of acrylic paint, even some tattoo ink.  Looks pretty balanced and compact, right?  Yeah.  Take a step to the right, and you see this (at least this time it’s an awesome wall):




There are piles of scrapbooking papers and drawers full of a rainbow of polymer clay, an entire bin full of Halloween skeleton garland that I keep hoarding (like the stuff I used in that chalkboard tutorial way back when), books on celtic knots, crocheting, knitting, tattooing, anticrafting, and tons of anatomy.  There are hundreds of dollars invested in colored pencils and markers.  There are boxes and boxes and boxes of glass ball ornaments (not even counting the fourteen boxes in the basement.. hey, 90% off is too good to pass up!) and so many wood bits and bobs that they’re overflowing onto the floor.  There’s stuff for paper mache.  There’s resin and mold-making stuff, crochet hooks, knitting needles, and pastel-specific brushes.  There are at least 10 sets of alphabet blocks, coffin-shaped boxes, reactive mental paint, and a box of horsehide.   There’s even a freakin’ airbrush.

But wait… there’s more.  If you turn to the right again, you find this:


Yarn and fabric and fake fur and felt and felt and felt.  Roving, wool locks, floss and thread, stuffing, and more felt.  Lots of felt.  I could also take you into the basement where there is yet another table covered with stained-glass-making stuff and shelves full of pigments for yarn dying.  I could finish the tour in the kitchen where there is a huge pile of silicon and plastic molds along with enough bath-bomb-making chemicals to keep my daughter in fizzers until she’s 18, but I’ll refrain.  Mostly because I’m too lazy to clean all the spiderwebs off the glass.

I look at all this stuff and think maybe I have a problem.  About eight years ago we moved 800 miles with what we could fit into a Nissan Sentra, so this isn’t even a lifetime collection of stuff.  Sometimes I wish it piled up because I’m a hoarder.  Unfortunately, I am not a hoarder.  I just seriously want to know everything.  I want to be able to DO everything.  When I’m drifting off to sleep and come up with some bizarre idea, I want to be able to make it happen.  Even if it means I need to learn how to weld or blow glass.  I finish a project and want to move onto something completely 180-degrees different than what I have been doing.

This crack-fueled foray into becoming Little Miss Know-It-All has bitten me firmly on the ass recently.  I am planning a busy (and hopefully successful) summer at art and craft shows, and the bigger shows have some specific requirements about the mediums you’re juried in for as well as wanting a cohesive look to your offerings.  Yikes.  I spent a few weeks pondering and attempting to streamline.  Thinking about the things I really want to do versus the things I know I do well and determining where I can pare some stuff down.  This makes me sweat.  And cry.  And panic.  And drink.  I finally narrowed it all down to three things:  Sculptures (clay), stuffed/felted, and paintings (mostly because of the whole 300 in 2013 thing):

Honestly, I spend a lot of time (too much time) screwing around on the internet.  My Google reader has 80 new items to read on any given day.  I get email updates from at least 15 mailing lists (not even counting freakin’ Levis and Old Navy.  Make one Christmas order and they have you forever).  With all of this overstimulation, I worry constantly about copying.  The artists I most admire tend to be sculptors, and sculpting is usually the thing that comes easiest for me.  But when I finish something or a group of somethings and they all look streamlined and like they came from the same person, I freak out a little bit.  Did I copy?  Does that nose look like someone else’s nose?  Can I use big eyelids like that?  I inevitably rush to the internet and spend too much time checking out the galleries, Flickr photostreams, and Etsy shops of my favorite artists making sure that no, no one does teeth like that… and I am the only one that uses bulbous swirly eyes.  Okay.  Crisis averted.  It’s madness.

And it’s maddening.  Sometimes I wish I lived in a bubble with no outside input.  I would know for SURE that everything I’m doing is something I’ve come up with on my own.  Inspiration completely from within.  But then I wouldn’t know how to do anything but the things I’ve figured out all by myself, and that’s not very much.  I’d be making  lot of deconstructed soups and would never know the joys of Mealy Monsters, Felted Chickens, or Sunny Carvalho’s funky ceramics.  I wouldn’t know any of you or any of the wonderstrange girls.  I certainly wouldn’t have the overflowing shelves behind me since I learned about most of this stuff (and bought 90% of it) on the internet.

I would be far less paranoid and far more unfulfilled and miserable, so I guess it’s a trade-off.  What about you?  Do you worry about your inspiration?  Do you following the preachings of Picasso and believe firmly that great artists steal?

And now for something completely different:  Here’s what I’m working on this week.  Hearts!


I’ll be listing these bad boys (okay not these specific bad boys, but ceiling-hangers with similar bad boys) in my shop this week, so keep your peepers peeped!



  1. shuckclod

    I would call those Heart Attacks. All that stuff 🙂 It is a craft pantry. Lots of goodies, but you need more room. I like the butterfly on the wall, is it a demon face? The little green guy too! I think you probably copy your alters while you sleep. Thank you for another great post.

    • Oh I love it.. Heart attacks!

      The last thing I need is more room! I'll fill it up with more crap! 😉 There is actually a lot of room in here, more than how it appears in the pictures for sure. You actually have to walk 8-10 steps to get from the main table to the felt shelf!

      The butterfly is a mealy monster (there's a link in the post above), so it has a mealy monster face! I have three of her pieces and will buy more next time I see her, I'm sure.. lol

      It would not surprise me if there were alters roaming around in there… :-/

  2. Russell

    It's good to know I am not the only one collecting all those supplies and tryign to learn to do so many different things. I feel much less like a hoarder now.

  3. Joe

    These are like the "find the hidden object" pictures that they used to have in Highlights Magazine. Find the felty sugar skull, giant bag o' peg dolls, girl with heart balloon, mime, two wooden eyeballs, the doll head turned into paintbrush holder, and ten items made by Joe's Lines.

    Awesome post, by the way.

    • LOL it really is. Sometimes I find something hiding in there that I forgot I had… and sometimes the male drawing mannequin is molesting a plush toy.

      There is a heavy JL presence in here! I don't know how it got so concentrated!

  4. Tracy

    I'm not sure I'd call it stealing if something influenced you.. but if you made an exact copy of something someone else did then yes..that is stealing. you know i love your creations, and i have purchased many.. everyone's art is different whether or not you were influenced by someone art's creation or not

Comments are closed.