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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Map of Inspiration

A few movies and key moments have stuck in my mind lately as milestones of inspiration.  As I started tugging at strands of memory, more things shook out as key influences in molding my interest and style from childhood to present and I've been rather surprised (and delighted) at seeing a map of inspiration materialize as I piece together some of the important influences on my (young and older) self.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Kirsten made me want to live in the wilderness and inspired many evenings of "pretend we don't have electricity.  Except for the oven.  And the TV."  My mother's homemade bread and comforting stews fed this country dream of mine as she spent a few years between leaving full-time work and before we began adopting.   The desire to live in seclusion from urbania, suburbia and modernity still maintains burning embers inside me, as long as I've got internet, though -right? 

My adoration for the elegance of the Victorian age, the lace, china, romantic gowns and jewelry probably started with a wee bit of envy over my sister Crystal's Samantha doll.  Sharing our American Girl books, then devouring the BBC books on tape Dad brought home from trips from England of A Little Princess, The Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan placed me firmly in a sweetly frivolous dreamworld ladened with cups of tea and doilies, from which I will never emerge.  Quite happily.

As an artistic soul, and already predisposed to the Victorian era, I fully (ridiculously) embraced the story and example of Beatrix Potter.  Hours were spent sketching, writing, designing and -of course- day dreaming.  The dramatics of a 10 year old know NO bounds.  I can only imagine what I have in store when Waverley becomes pre-pubescent.  Lord Almighty...

I still remember the first time I found and purchased Victoria Magazine.  At age 11, standing in line at the grocery store a few months from leaving with my touring choir to compete in England, I saw a Victoria issue featuring beautiful cottages in the British Isles.  It was love at first sight and I have been irrevocably influenced by its enchanting pages.  I still swoon when I open an issue.

Harriet the Spy, though seeing it when I was a sophomore or junior in high school, was such a jolt of inspiration that I immediately rearranged and redesigned my bedroom.  I stayed up past midnight and had a shopping list of decor items ready to go for the next day.  THAT was inspiration.  Color, style, avant-garde, attitude and sheer creativity.  When something grabs you like that, you'll never forget it.

When I was in high school and early college, Meg Ryan got me.  You've Got Mail and French Kiss influenced my dress, my hair and my overall outlook.  The conservative gal finding confidence and freedom in exploring new sides of herself.  "Look at you?  You would declare a pack of chewing gum!"

I cut my bangs after watching A Series of Unfortunate Events.  My style was also highly influenced by this Victorian/Vintage/Goth inspired film.  I went from conservative Lands End/JC Penney-type to slight rocker/retro-vintage/elegant-inspired.  Okay, okay, it's not really a style, BUT it opened up a different side of me and I found a new surge of inspiration!  That's the point.

As my nesting instincts started kicking in a few months before having Wilder, Bend-The-Rules Sewing and other crafters like Amy Karol encouraged my fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants creation.  Say goodbye to structure and hello to productive, short projects!  That's MY kind of craftin'!  In this phase, I realized I can wear all sorts of hats in life.  I didn't have to grow up and be one thing; life holds a series of titles and chapters.  I can be an author, mother, dancer, singer, sewer, wife, photographer, actress, baker, entrepreneur, jewelry designer, corporate woman, gardener, etc.  Life is full of opportunities and seasons.  Being content with the season I'm currently in and looking forward to the next (as inspiration hits) is part of this grand adventure that makes me so happy.

Ree Drummond and her beautiful brood.
In the last few years as I've discovered the incredibly diverse world of female bloggers, MUCH inspiration has been derived from folks such as Ree Drummond and Ashley of Under the Sycamore.  These are women who encompass much of what I aspire to be:  mother, creator, writer and photographer and entrepreneur.  

Ashley of "Under the Sycamore" blog.
Sifting through the images that float to the top of memory as I reflect on inspirational turning points, it has helped develop clarity in who I am.  It also encourages me to continue seeking out new areas of inspiration and go boldly where I've yet to travel in my creativity.  Firmly planted in 30, I'm allowing my style to swish around, embracing a little of this, a little of that and not being scared that I'm turning into someone I'm not.  I am a collector of styles, clothing, projects and ideas.  And I'm happy acknowledging that.

So today, BE INSPIRED!  Go, seek, and love!

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