Finding Inspiration

There’s nothing quite as daunting as sitting down to design something from scratch. Whether you build, draw, paint, weld, whatever; converting ideas into an actual thing can easily become the most frustrating part of any artist's job. Of course, we all have times when inspiration hits. But who knows when or where that'll happen.

I know when inspiration will not hit though – in it’s scheduled time slot. If I plan to set aside two hours on Mondays, that’s exactly when my mind will be blank. And even if I can get an uninspired idea on the page or make a furniture model or [insert whatever you’re creating] it shows in the final product. People can tell the difference between inspired and uninspired crafts.

There is a big difference between having to make something and having something to make.

But what if there was always something to start with? What if I always had something I wanted to make and work with and improve. What if, when I sat down on Monday mornings, I had my pick of projects to play with and mold? All I would need to do is decide which project clicked with me at that time…

If that sounds like a good time, it requires a shift in the creative process. But it isn’t a shift in your office skills or time management – it’s much harder. I’ve found that inspired art is a reflection of an inspired life. So we’re talking lifestyle change.

Wherever I am,
whatever I’m doing,
whomever I’m with
is inspiring.
Sometimes I’m just not aware enough to see it.

The shift is simple and insanely difficult at the same time. Wake up to the inspiration in life going on all around everything. And take note.

Literally take a note, or a picture, or a clipping when inspiration hits. For example, the shot attached to this blog post will, I guarantee, turn into some piece on the Aether Designs site. I don’t know what that tent pitched on a cliff will inspire, but I know it’s inspiring. So I recorded it.

I don’t need to figure it out.

I don’t need to edit it.

I just need to take note.


Our coffee table is a confluence of a surf magazine clipping and some mountains I saw in Iceland. But I didn’t know that when I took the clipping or the picture. I just noted the thing that struck me at the time.

That’s step one. Take loads of iPhone notes and pictures and clippings that inspire me.

The next question is why.


to be continued…

Thomas Karst