Finding Inspiration

We just returned from a three week trip to Alaska and Vancouver, B.C. The scenery was simply beautiful and went on and on and on. Fairbanks was our starting point with our first major destination being Denali National Park. It was blanketed with snow providing a multitude of mountain vistas, each more beautiful than the previous one. Soon we’ll have a photo file up on Ed’s Zenfolio site.

One of my favorite travel activities is looking for interesting local art. I use my camera as a notebook use the snaps to inspire creative juices. I’m working on some posts related to these. Maybe you’ll find a little gem to inspire you.

In Fairbanks we went to the “Museum of the North” where I discovered these wonderful items made from gut, skin and fur. I love this Inuit seal gut parka with it’s visible seams and bits of bone and fur? feathers? I ask myself could this be a starting point for a stitched paper project? Maybe I could make it from waxed paper. What if I applied encaustic to paper to give it a translucency.
Those of you who know me well know that I love interesting bags. They are so practical for holding “stuff”. I love bags because I hang them off my body and my hands are still free. And by hanging stuff on me, I only have to make one trip from the car! I look at these bags and wonder about ways to make bags art pieces. This bag and hat? is made from loonskin and loon feathers? I never thought birds could be skinned!!! How might I use feathers (or maybe even papers cut like feathers) to embellish a bag? I don’t want to replicate this bag, but I’d love to create a piece that is “informed” by it.
These two bags really caught my attention. The black bag is made from swan skin, gut and bird feet! Those Inuit’s find ways to use everything! I’m not so sure I could or would make a project with bird feet. But I’m thinking that maybe there are other natural materials here in the desert that could be applied to a painting or dimensional art piece. I do have a dried out lizard and a few brilliant green beetles! Cholla anyone? I really like the shapes of these two bags. Maybe I can build some similar bags using paper. Now how can I make paper more flexible. Many asian papers are very strong and can be sewed. Some papers become leather-like when they are coated with gesso. I could also bond paper to fabric (a la Jane Davies). The possibilities are endless.
For some time I’ve thought about doing a series of bags and envelopes and maybe this summer is the time to explore that theme. The more I think about it, the more exciting it sounds.

I hope you find these photo notes as interesting and stimulating as I do. Maybe they will inspire a project you are working on. Let me know what you think and do send me a photo if you make something based on an idea provoked by this post.

More to come. Next I’ll post some small bone pieces that I think are beautiful.