24 Jun 10

Five Places To Find Creative Inspiration

Depending on where you live, school is out and kids are basking in the freedom of summer. But what about you – when was the last time you went out to play and set your mind free?

Creativity thrives on play, experimentation, surprise and fun. So, how about planning some mental field trips that will boost your creativity? Here are five ideas:

1. Museums and galleries
Sure, you can Google other artists' or crafters' work from the comfort of your computer, but sometimes you need to go old school and hit a museum or gallery. These places provide an experience you can't get on your computer screen – perspective, context, texture and discovery. They are also designed to have an environment that encourages observation and reflection.

2. Go Au Naturel
Your city surely has a botanical garden or major park. When was the last time you went, simply to stop and smell the roses? These places are typically free and quiet. What about the beach, waterfront, mountain or forest? A change of scene gets the wheels turning because it holds the opportunity for serendipity. You might see a rare bird, butterfly or huge, hairy spider. It's all good.

3. Visit the bookstore or library

It's wonderful to browse books about subjects other than your professional work – cooking, travel, birdwatching. It doesn't matter, as long as it's something new. It's also a great way to get re-acquainted with your dreams and passions, which we tend to forget in the rush of daily life.

4. Shop windows
Window dressing is an art that is intended to divert you from wherever you're going and lure you in to see more. As a creative entrepreneur, there's a lot to learn from stores that do this well. First of all, many boutique windows reflect what's in and what's out. But, aside from product trends, there's something about how the items are displayed that is instructive. Ask yourself what is magnetic about the store's display, and how you can replicate that effect in your online shop.

5. Bring home souvenirs
When you go places and bring back souvenirs of your visit, think about what made you hold onto that item. A great example of a creative souvenir was recently noticed by Julie at A Fine Tooth Comb. After taking a train tour in Florida, her husband received a fan that he saved as a souvenir. It's a simple fan, to help passengers stay cool, but it's also a portable venue where the tour company prints advertising and information. "What better way to keep your customers happy (cool) and informed at the same time?  This company viewed the blank space on the front and back of the fan as prime advertising space.  Brilliant!"

Where do you go to re-charge your creative batteries?

Photo courtesy of SantiMB.

Posted by: Jessica Howard

Posted in: community

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1 Kimberly commented on 06/24/2010

I love all of your suggestions. I know that every time I flip through any magazine, I feel inspired and more creative. It doesn't have to be a magazine about your craft ... any magazine can offer visual inspiration. Another way I have been recharging my creative juices is by listening to creative poscasts. I know, seems odd since you don't see anything when you are listening to a posdcast, but I feel like it stimulates my brain and gets me thinking. The more I think the more I discover inspiration around me.

2 Julie - A Fine Tooth Comb commented on 06/24/2010

Love this topic, Jessica!

I seem to get inspiration in the craziest places. My problem is remembering the idea long enough to get it down on paper. I'm considering downloading Evernote on my Blackberry to be able to create and save voice notes. That might help me.

By the way, thanks for including me in your post! :)

3 Courtney commented on 06/24/2010

I'm all about the magazines. I even have a notebook that I keep with all the clippings I love, when I need a bit of inspiration or a creative burst that's the first place I look!

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