Inspiration, in a Word

Last weekend, I attended a private gathering of 40 of Port Moody’s top artists.  To help everyone get to know each other, we were given an activity.  We were each given a list with everyone’s name and we were to say “hi” to everyone else and share two words that represent an inspiration to us.  To keep things interesting, I used a variety of words, often dependent on the person with whom I was talking.

Here are some of the words that I used, and a brief explanation of their meaning to me.


From my perspective, one line represents an arris (an edge).  Two lines make a surface.  Many of my sculpted edge treatments begin when I think, “what would the surface look like if these lines were connected?”.  (See Table with a Twist.)

Light (and Shadows)

The way that light interacts with a piece is very interesting and has a great effect on how the piece is perceived.  The angle of the surfaces and degree of polish determines how it reflects light.  Opaque materials block light and create shadows while translucent materials tint light.


The idea of having infinite options is overwhelming.  It is much easier to create when there are parameters established.  (See Endurance.)


The visual weight of an object is determined by where the empty space is within its cube (overall size).  A large cabinet atop spindly legs can appear lightweight, perhaps even floating, while a chest sitting directly on the ground feels very solid and immobile.


Part of the fun for me, as a creator, is watching people interact with the finished piece.  Many people walk right up to it and run their hand along it.  Others stand back and drink in the form of the piece with their eyes or admire the beauty of the wood.  (See Relationship Study.)


Tactile properties add another dimension (pun intended).  A lightly textured or contoured surface begs to be felt and invites the user to stay a moment.  It also captures light differently and highlights the irregular surface.  (See Flow.)

An Idea

Art is all about expression, and what better place to start than with an idea?  (See A Box Called “Necessessity”)


The natural beauty and character of wood is very inspiring.  The colours, grain pattern, knots, and live edges guide me when I am in need of direction.  I am also intrigued by the properties of other materials such as metal, glass, ceramics and resins.  (See Deconstructed.)


A white surface is plain, but if there is a black line across it, then it suddenly becomes interesting.  A smooth surface is ordinary but with the addition of texture, it  becomes richer.  Without something to compare to, things simply don’t have the same impact.  Of course, subtlety is useful at times.  (See Maple Slab Table.)


Live edges and the variations that are a natural part of wood are just as dramatic as anything that can be made by Man.  (See Cribbage Board 1, 2 and 3.)


If given too much thought, many ideas would never be realized.  Instead of over-thinking a concept, I try to produce it in real life.  Whether or not I like the outcome, I benefit from practicing my skills in building the model and visualizing the process.


I am always looking for new ideas to try.  When working on an unfamiliar shape, I work slowly and evaluate my process frequently.  Sometimes, while working on one shape, I discover another shape I like part way through the process.  (See Sculpted Ash Table.)

This is the eighth slide from my PechaKucha presentation.


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