Inspiration and Creativity-Turning the Natural Into the Fantastical

I’ve always loved to create and love that polymer clay has given me a way to express my creativity in a way that many other mediums can’t. It allows me to sculpt the creatures and characters that I see in my minds eye in a 3-dimensional form so that others can also see, hold and touch them, bringing them to life!

But it can sometimes be hard to hold onto inspiration and to what helps us to create something new and exciting. With social media showing us image after image of beautiful artworks and creative ideas, it’s very easy to get lost in what others have created instead of finding what inspires us to create our own magic.

For me, I have always found that my true inspiration comes from nature.

I grew up in Africa and as a child regularly walked through nature reserves with my family, discovering waterfalls and learning about the creatures that lived in the woods and on the savanna. I grew up listening to animal fables and tales, and reading stories of The Borrowers, The Magic Far Away Tree, and tales of gnomes living in the woods and interacting with forest animals.

So, it’s always been easy for me to imagine that a log might not just be a log, or that the rustle of leaves might not just be the wind. It could be a fairy house or the entrance to another world, or there could be a rabbit, dragon, goblin or forest elf going about their business or getting up to mischief.

We are born to create, but it gets harder to create something new without regularly topping ourselves up with inspiration. Our creative jar needs to be refilled before we can take anything from it so that we don’t end up running on empty.

When I’m feeling completely uninspired, a walk in the woods is often all that’s needed to get me back on track and to feeling inspired again. And yet, even though I feel most inspired when I’m out in the woods, I often delay going for these walks because I’m tired, don’t have the time and life is just too busy.

But as we live in an era where most of us now carry a camera-phone, we are in the fortunate position to be able capture at least a small piece and a reminder of what inspires us, whether that be a funny looking tree stump, a beautiful doorway, or an interesting texture.

So, when I do get some time to take a walk, I always take my camera-phone, and sometimes my sketchbook with me, so that I can capture an idea when one presents itself. I don’t always go looking for ideas and inspiration, but because I find the woods to be my inspiring place, new ideas and characters reveal themselves to me, and I naturally start to feel inspired.

I have many sketchbooks and sticky notes of the ideas I’ve had whilst out on my walks, and I also keep a folder of the photos and pictures that inspire me. It’s a wealth of ideas and inspiration, and it’s great to be able to look through these when I’m feeling uninspired and can’t get to those places that inspire me. Looking back through these sketchbooks and photos, sometimes years later, can rekindle old ideas and sometimes create new and exciting ones.

My husband and I see faces in everything, and we have great fun pointing out the faces we see in the things around us. It’s great imaginative fun and has caused many laughs.

I don’t know when it started, but at some point, we began sticking googly eyes on objects around the house. Nothing in the house is safe. If it has a face, it gets eyes! Dustbins, furniture, staplers and marks on the wall. Nothing is immune to the googly eye treatment. We’ve become so used to the eyes that we often forget they’re there, and it’s always amusing when we have visitors over and they start to spot them. My daughter even took a bag of eyes with her when she went to university so she could decorate her new flat!

Seeing faces in things has inspired me to create some fun sculptural projects too, and these two pen pots were inspired by my love of quirky faces, and natural textures.

These Sproutling characters and Rogue Bulbs were inspired by new plants and trees emerging from the woodland floor, and old forgotten bulbs found at the back of the garden shed.

A friend of mine recently found and picked these edible mushrooms when out in a field, but all I can see is hungry little forest monsters waiting to be fed.

The world around us is full of mystery and inspiration, and once you take some time to immerse yourself in the things and places you love, you may be surprised at what tickles your imagination and inspires you to create something wonderful.

Why not share what inspires you and what you’ve been inspired to create with polymer clay by using the hashtag #HowDoYouSculpey

And don’t forget to mention which clay you are using (#Premo #liquidsculpey #supersculpey)

I hope you find what inspires you to create some magic!

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