What Inspires?

Steve Ramsey of Woodworking for Mere Mortals started a new segment on his blog called Inspiration Project, asking creative people the simple question, “what inspires?”.  He asked me to kick off Inspiration Project, so I created a video (duration: 5:34)

Read Steve’s post and watch my video HERE.

Inspiration Project

Getting in the Groove

This is a follow-up post to my recent article, In The Groove, as suggested by Nick Roulleau.

When I’m in the groove, things go smoothly and nothing can frustrate me.  When I’m not in the groove, I feel tired.  I feel unmotivated.  I feel like going back to bed.  That’s how I feel right now.

Here are some strategies that I employ to try to get myself back in the groove:

  • Turn on some music.  When I’m frustrated, I like to play loud rock or metal like Fear Factory or Hail The Villain (until I blew up the speakers of my stereo).  It doesn’t usually get me in the groove, but it gets me doing something.  Sometimes chill music like Anna Gilbert or Colin James helps me relax and start enjoying what I’m doing (even if it isn’t enjoyable);
  • Work on something that excites me.  Some tasks, especially repetitive, monotonous ones, are difficult to get motivated to start.  So instead, I work on something else that interests for a half hour before switching to the less interesting task; and
  • Do something.  Anything.  Putting tools away and sweeping up shavings require little thought or focus yet are productive.  No matter how minor or inconsequential the task, doing SOMETHING will help me gain momentum.

These are three strategies that work for me.  Now, if I was in the groove when I wrote this, I might have a longer list.  Since I’m not, this is what I have to share with you.  And that brings me to one last strategy which just occurred to me:

  • Get someone else involved.  Having someone else around, either in person or virtually, can stimulate your mind, motivate you to start, and inspire you to excel.

I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas of how to get in the groove.  Share them in the comments section.

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Recently I picked up a few books that are sure to be inspiring.

500 Cabinets is the latest woodworking-related publication in Lark Books’ 500 series.  Previous books include: 500 Chairs, 500 Tables, 500 Wood Bowls, and 400 Wood Boxes.  This book is not as inspiring as the others, but I’m not surprised.  Although there is certainly freedom to be innovative and creative when making cabinets, there is not as much leeway as with the subjects of the previous books.  Still, I do not regret acquiring this book.

A friend, Federico Mendez-Castro, has one of his pieces featured on page 182 of this book, Claro Cabinet.  Incidentally, Federico’s shop is within a couple hundred feet of other local woodworkers featured in the book such as Enrico König and James Esworthy.  Enrico’s Bowed Front Media Console can be found on page 38 and his Bowed-Front Liquor Cabinet on page 359 while James’ untitled cabinet is on page 163.

Arnt Arntzen (p.13, 172), Lord Godfrey (p. 263), Mario Sabljak (p. 156), and Jeff Trigg (p. 227) are other woodworkers who reside in the Vancouver area and have work featured in 500 Cabinets.

Another new book is David Savage’s Furniture with Soul.  Had shipping from the United Kingdom not been prohibitively expensive, I would have ordered a signed copy.  It is a very interesting read.  There’s a good balance of text and stunning photos in both colour and black and white.

The third book is Warton Esherick: The Journey of a Creative Mind.  This is the book that I was the most excited to get.  It’s not a new book, but I hadn’t previously heard of it.