When brilliant jeweler, Cynthia Benson, writes to ask me to share a few words about what inspires my art, how could I refuse?
Especially since like me and my Buddy, she has shop cats, Jack and Wrigley, and a faithful dog, Lily!
Here's how I responded in answer to her deceptively simple question,What inspires you?
I’ve always been fascinated by stuff that moves.
When I settled down in the mountains of Bend, Oregon, where the high desert air is constantly twisting and twirling, I think I finally found the perfect muse to inspire my creativity… and that took shape with mountain biking and mobile making.
As an avid (okay, obsessive) mountain biker, there are few things I dig more than pedaling deep into the mountains on some choice singletrack and watching the world (and my place in it) transform.
In my graduate studies, I explored our relationship to and with place, particularly the place of nature. I’m totally captivated with the way we interact with the places we inhabit and pass through and how – when we “bump into the world” – we create meaning/focus/purpose in our lives.
And, it’s that interaction with nature (usually as I’m zipping down a trail on my bike) that really inspires my designs – wresting form out of pure metal to realize feathers layering on a wing, leaves rustling in the wind, or bubbles rising into the air.
As I see the branches of a tree moving in a breeze, I’m mesmerized. A bird in flight, totally hypnotized. A ripple in the canal behind my house, spellbound.
See, I live by a semi-humorous "little things please little minds" mantra. Keep it simple. Keep it real.
In that vein, I’ve been inspired to keep my “process” as basic and fundamental as possible.
That means all my mobiles are hand cut, shaped, sanded, primed, painted, and assembled one at a time. I don’t use templates, or mass production, and regretfully I don’t employ a team of elves. It's just me in my humble little shop with Buddy the Cat enjoying good tunes and paint fumes while creating fun art.
The resulting creations range from works of peaceful simplicity, featuring repetitive shapes spinning hypnotically on an air current, to whimsical jumbles of bright colors and bouncy motion that vibrate with energy and joy.
In the end, I just feel pretty dang lucky to be able to create art for people to enjoy. That’s pretty cool.
You can learn more about Cynthia and creative spirit at her Simple Elements blog. Cynthia's magnificent work can be seen (and purchased) on Etsy and on Facebook.