I wish I could say there is a perfect formula for finding inspiration. Especially as someone who makes of living off of that very thing – you’d think I’d have that nailed down by now.
I’ve certainly tried my hardest, recreating the perfect scene every time I’m in need of a moment of creative genius. I find the nearest locally-owned, Instagram worthy coffee shop. I order a latte even though I prefer black coffee, knowing the barista will put on a display of a winged phoenix or a mystical fern daintily swirled within the steamed milk. It’s good for photos. I pull out my laptop, a clipboard, 3-5 colorful gelly pens – and I wait. I know I’m in need of creating a moodboard for a new client who is anxiously awaiting the reveal of her wedding design. Yet the more I sit there avoiding the urge to click through Pinterest, the more I realize the light bulb isn’t going to go off. Not with this swirly latte, not in this hipster coffee shop, and certainly not this morning.
Finding inspiration is a bit like stumbling on that great coffee shop for the first time, while you’re driving lost through a new area of town, and something in the air pulls you to take another turn down a street you’ve never seen before. Inspiration comes as a soft whisper. A tug of curiosity. A question that suddenly needs exploring.
I’ve found the best moments of inspiration for my work come to me when they really shouldn’t be there at all. A walk through Home Depot where I stumbled on a pile of slate outdoor tiles, which became the basis for an elopement photoshoot in the desert. Finding a Spanish style mirror at Hobby Lobby that completely changed the direction of a tablescape to mixed metallic gunmetal and champagne gold, where we used the mirrors directly on the tables to boost the floral centerpieces. Eating brunch with girlfriends and noticing the color palette of the soft pink water glasses, paired with the wrought iron lighting fixtures dangling above our heads. Even a conversation with a client with a love of writing and romantic authors, which bloomed into the backbone of their entire wedding, with names and quotes instead of table numbers, an 8ft. backdrop made of weathered, torn up novels, and dusty vintage books scattered throughout the reception hinting at the wedding’s “theme”.
Then there are the more obvious moments. Spending my honeymoon in Santorini, soaking in every moment of the bright blue domes and crashing waves against the whitewashed walls of the town. Walking along the San Diego beach at sunset, picking up sea shells and smooth beach glass of all shades. Visiting an amazing retail shop filled with trinkets and baubles and things you’ll never truly need, but can’t help but to pick up as a “thinking of you” gift for a friend. In these moments, scattered inspired ideas flood my mind, and I find myself writing down thoughts for centerpieces, for invitation designs, for décor details and more. I’ll take more photos than can possibly be necessary of the smallest details found in these moments, to come back to at a later time. An inspiration bank of sorts, saved for a rainy day in a hipster coffee shop, where the ideas are stalled.
The best thing I’ve learned during my time as a professional creative? There are rarely times that I find this glorious inspiration on the internet, let alone scrolling through social media sites on my phone. It comes in times with friends, exploring new locations, traveling the world, breathing in some salty sea air and really just getting off the couch, and getting out of the house. Inspiration wants nothing more than to find us all, we just need to give it a chance.