10 sources of inspiration for craft designs

Posted on: February 21, 2009

Clean lines, curvy silhouettes, bold colors or vintage chic. Whatever styles appeals to your eye or entices your senses – one thing is for certain – the designing artist was truly inspired.  We are always impressed by our sellers’ amazing designs, most of which are crafted by hand and completely original.

Just like writers sometimes have writer’s block, artists need to find inspiration around them as well. We sought the opinions of some very talented designers to learn where they look when seeking inspiration.  In the instance that you have one of those, horribly dull, uninspiring days, perhaps this list will pull you out of the doldrums and help you re-discover your creative side.

1. Nature Natural backdrops, climatic conditions or even the tiniest of creatures provide inspiration for crafting and designing.  Designers admit to finding inspiration in the free and unrestricted forms found naturally.  Nature isn’t contained; it’s boundless and offers limitless possibilities for inspiration.  Designs that are inspired by nature have more flow and are mostly without pointed edges or sharp shapes.  There is certainly no shortage of natural materials or natural backdrops.  As explained by designer Far’ha artists are “visual and sensual,” therefore natural settings provide so many of the visceral reactions leading to inspired art. One trip down Far’ha’s Silk Road and it is easy to see how the colors and shapes of nature inspire her silk flower designs.

2. History It may be an historic event or historically famous fashion trends that inspire some artists to look into the past for creative ideas.  Lazybreeze particularly appreciates ancient Grecian and Egyptian history as displayed in her Amethyst chandelier earning design.  The enrichment from historical references or styles often results in trendy, yet timeless designs.

Trendy, because the designs are a new, stylish take on something old; and, timeless, because they are fashioned after designs that transcend generations.

3. Other Designs or Designers Being inspired by other famous designs or designers can influence how artists or crafters approach their own designs.  Some crafters are influenced by designs of other similar crafters.  For example, a crafter may use handmade materials fashioned by other fellow crafters.

The design of those particular handmade materials may inspire the design of the entire piece.  When at a loss for inspiration, look to the creativity of other designers and designs for guidance.

4. Personal Experience or Memories All of us have a wealth of personal experiences upon which to draw for inspiration.  When seeking sources of inspiration, some designers go no further than their own personal experiences or fond memories.  Using the memories closest to you can result in some of the most inspired designs that take on their own personality.  Some crafters even share the “stories” behind their pieces, which makes the creation so much more inspiring.  Even when these experiences are linked to trauma or gloom, the resulting designs are inspired indeed.

5. Close Friends and Family At times, crafters do not look any further than their own friends and family for inspiration. As Hookyarninker so beautifully puts it, “my daughters and their friends inspire me to try different things and then my imagination goes to work. My daughters, all 3, are different personalities [with] different fashion types, and so they inspire me to be random and to think outside the box.”

Crafters are often inspired by the deep connection that they have with those closest to them.  The lovely crochet design depicted is a perfect example of modern hip style inspiring a very delicate handmade crocheted design.

6. Filling a NeedNecessity is the mother of invention.  Perhaps your dog needs a new, stylish, yet durable collar and matching leash.  Maybe you need a unique business card holder or a purse that not only looks appealing, but has compartments for everything you own.  How about new slippers that express your child’s personality on “wear your slippers to school day,” just as Baby Toes did with the adorable crocheted tigers pictured to the right.

Some of the greatest crafting and handmade designs are derived from filling a very important need.  The designs are not just pleasing to the eye, but also very practical.

7. Shapes, Colors and TexturesThe five senses inspire some of the most intricate and beautiful designs.  For some, the mere sight of something is awe-inspiring, while some crafters are far more tactile and respond to textures and the feel of materials.  Notuboc describes inspiration as being “especially drawn to paper. I like textures. I like odd shapes, [and] I especially like things that aren’t supposed to [be] made into books, like Michael Jackson’s Thriller jacket or candy boxes.”

Well said Notuboc, we agree.  You are truly inspired by a variety of textures and we love the results.

8. Events or holidaysSome designers specialize in creating designs with a particular theme.  Most often those themes are inspired by holidays or events.  Décor and note cards are two of the most often crafted designs that focus on popular holidays.

The owner of Cat’s Paw Artifacts tends to look forward to upcoming events on her calendar for inspiration of new designs.  This silver Celtic charm was inspired by the luck of the Irish.   Happy St. Patrick’s Day, it’s lovely.

9. Making a Statement Whether political or fashionable, designers are inspired by making a statement.  Some statements can be evident; some a bit more subtle, but the inspiration behind the design drives the creation.  Green statements are very important so some crafters whether that includes recycling various objects to use in creating the piece or designing a complete piece around a particular statement.

Buffalo Beads, when approaching crafting often asks “how can I make that differently, better, less expensive, greener, etc. How can I make this my own? My husband and my sons have been my inspiration to be more green. It just seems very practical. Why throw away something that’s perfectly reusable? Why use more of something, when less is just as acceptable?” She is even green down to the packaging and shipping of her pieces, using the least amount of recycled and recyclable packing material possible.

Jellybug Artworks makes her own unique statement by recycling wine and water bottles, heating them and pressing them to create décor and even appetizer serving trays. The greenest of designers make some of the most beautiful pieces of art.  The final creation is the statement.

10. Fantasy or Imagination When creating new and intricate pieces designers tend to explore the furthest reaches of their imagination.   Some of the most original designs are inspired by creative expressions of worlds, either real or imagined.  Often crafters look to imaginary worlds depicted in novels and then bring those worlds to life in their craft.  Be they elves, fairies or extra terrestrials, they all inspire the creation of some very unique designs. (Image on the right is by Steam Punk Jewelry)

That being said, we thought we would also share a bit about what inspires us here at Silkfair.  Our inspiration when we first began was to provide the tools to enable sellers to take control of their online selling experience while building relationships – forming a close community along the way.  The inspiration remains.  When we see all of the accomplishments that our sellers continue to achieve on a daily basis, we are inspired to do more, to be more and to give more.  In the end, all of you inspire us to be the best that we can be so that you can do what you do best – CREATE.


2 Responses to "10 sources of inspiration for craft designs"

thanks for mentioning me. pretty much anything can be an inspiration if you let it. as for me, i think i’m about to go off and do something historical, that sounds like super fun~

Thanks Meredeth,

Our community thrives on your collective inspirations and how you bring your products to life. Keep up the great work!

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