Monday, July 14, 2008


Romancing the Creative Life in Portland, Oregon

Kim Switzer

Inspiration and Enthusiasm

Charles Kinsley said, “We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” I agree wholeheartedly. I would add that we need to do something with that enthusiasm, although being enthusiastic about something generally leads to some sort of action. I also would add that for a creative life, we need to nurture and cherish our enthusiasms and seek out new ones. These passions fuel our creations and keep inspired so that we keep creating. Enthusiasm is creativity’s driving force.

Those are nice, rather philosophical ideas, aren’t they? But creativity does have a practical, concrete side to it. So how do enthusiasms become finished creative works? There are different ways. I’ll show you how it works for me sometimes:

This week, I’m completely fascinated with 16th Century Italy and 19th Century England (I belong to two different historical recreation groups that focus on these time periods). I’m especially intrigued by the similarities between what, at first glance, appear to be wildly different eras.

For example, if you look at dress styles from the early 1500s in Italy and from the early 1800s in England, you will see remarkable similarities. What we call the “empire waistline” in 2008 was the style of the day in Italy in 1508 and again in England in 1808. And the clothing of the later 16th Century with its Elizabethan styles has quite a lot in common with the Victorian era styles of two hundred years later. I am even finding similarities in embroidery styles from the two eras, which is giving me all sorts of ideas of patterns to play with.

So where’s the inspiration in all of this? Mostly in my head right now. While I meant to write this first post about inspiration for my writing, which is my first love, my muse has taken hold of my obsession of the week, and she is pulling me to design a modern embroidery piece that combines elements from early 16th Century Italy and early 19th Century England. I’m still in the early stages of planning, so I am not sure exactly what direction I’m going in, but I’m very excited by the whole thing, and as I mentioned at the beginning, excitement is the fuel we need to bring our creative ideas to life. And I know if I let myself follow my enthusiasms, there will always be more interests and inspirations to keep me going.

On that note, I will leave you to your enthusiasms while I go off to chase mine. Wishing you a week full of creativity and enthusiasms!

Kim Switzer is an aspiring novelist and avid dabbler in various visual and fiber arts, especially embroidery, beaded embroidery, oil painting, and her new-found love--art quilting. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend, her cat, and various incarnations of her muse. For more information or to contact Kim, you can use the following links:


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