a peek inside the fishbowl

09 Oct, 2007

Where does inspiration come from, and where does it go?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: File under crafty

I’ve been hiding from art. My art. 


In my Bloglines I have a folder of sites/blogs I used to read on a regular basis: WhipUp, My Paper Crane, Posie Gets Cosy, Tania, simplesparrow (omg would you take a look at this acorn?) … and many many more. I collapsed that folder awhile ago and let the new entries accumulate. I now have 1609 unread posts in all of the crafty blogs I’ve subscribed to. I’ve been afraid to venture in there.

I’m afraid my arty/crafty muse has left me. She came to me once and stayed a few years, and her departure was gradual. Today I find myself staring at heaps of art supplies and am not inspired enough to do anything with them.

I forced myself to finish this project yesterday. It turned out well, but to tell you the truth my heart wasn’t in it like it used to be. The excitement has left me. I used to be immersed in some kind of art on a daily basis. There was always something (like a handmade postcard or artist trading card) on the drying rack. 

Don’t get me wrong. I still love art as much as ever, but is creating it still in my future?

I used to think this setback was a temporary thing, and that it would remedy itself if enough time went by. Maybe I’ve changed. I feel more inclined to photograph and to write. I’m thinking about another project like the Trust Experiment.

Should I be worried? Can I bring the art back again? I don’t know. Perhaps I need the right kind of project to fire me up.

12 Responses to "Where does inspiration come from, and where does it go?"

1 | porter

October 9th, 2007 at 10:12 am


I think you should hang on to your supplies and wait…you will feel it again I’m sure. I don’t think you can force the creative side of your personality. If you feel like writing and photography for now, go with that. Its supposed to feel good and ooze from your inner self, at least that’s what I think.

2 | Yaris

October 9th, 2007 at 11:59 am


Nase zajmy se meni. Je to normalni. Takovy uz je kolotoc zivota… Jsou veci ke kterym se stale vracime – a i takove od kterych upoustime…

3 | Jennie

October 9th, 2007 at 12:47 pm


I feel the same way you do right now. I think it’s also a lack of motivation at work that makes me feel this way.

I keep my crafty blogs in my Google Reader and hopefully something will inspire me to get back into it.

Don’t give up, your just taking a ‘break’ from the craft side of you. :)

4 | Miss Vicky

October 9th, 2007 at 3:00 pm


I dunno… isn’t the Trust Experiment a kind of art? A project that engages the audience to think outside themselves? A living performance?

There are many, many ways to make art and be creative and it doesn’t always include paint, paper and things crafty. You are a creative writer, a creative thinker, a creative parent. All of those things count.

5 | Lee

October 9th, 2007 at 3:08 pm


The creative spark will continue to express itself. The language, the material, the media may not be constant. The mental churning will.

Farmers let their fields rest to allow the subsequent crop to have more fertile land. (Or so it was in the days prior to chemical fertilizer.)

Give it time. Don’t force yourself.

I can’t wait to see what the next crop brings!

6 | Bethany

October 9th, 2007 at 7:58 pm


This happened to me, but with my writing. I just had NO desire (in the least) to write another damn thing.

It comes back.

Just ride out this wave and write, photograph-and don’t stress about not crafting. Honestly, if you stress, it might stay away longer. Give it time (even years) it will come back and in full force. :-)

7 | Marla

October 9th, 2007 at 9:50 pm


Ebb and flow.

Blogging is art. Social experiments are art. Your photography is art – and your doing more, and better quality. So, you are doing less crafting, more art. You just need to be inspired again, by just the right thing at the right time. Your hands will feel it before your insides do. You’ve also got a new job writing, and that saps energy, and time, and mental space.

I was talking to Steve, who used to write more often, even just journaling for himself. Since I started writing more, he started writing less. We don’t know how the yen transferred from him to me, but somehow it did. I was suggesting he write a new article for a magazine he used to write for, and as I talked with him about it, I outlined it and basically wrote it.

Maybe your desire just shifted a bit, and will return – cold weather helps, you know!

Also, I’m a pick up and put down person – I put down felting for the summer because it was too hot, and gardening is my thing in the nice weather. Now, I’m itching for the needle in my hands again! I was cruising Value Village for scarves and gloves and hats to felt on – it’s like a switch was flipped. I also got a new sewing machine, and have fiftymillion little things I want to sew.

It’ll be fine. It’ll come back – but, if you’re asking this because it’s part of how you defined yourself – then, you’ll just have to redefine yourself a little more. That’s all – you’re still an artist, but maybe more of a writer/photographer/social experimenter lately.

8 | a peek inside the fish bowl

October 10th, 2007 at 8:41 am


[…] (thanks everyone, for your comments on my post the other day) […]

9 | Marla

October 10th, 2007 at 9:38 am


Hey – I almost forgot – you’ve been sick a lot lately. That too.

10 | Sharon

October 15th, 2007 at 7:27 am


Art…Inspiration? What’s that. I lost my inspiration 10 years ago trying to have my 2nd child. I was finally sucessful. BUT I was exhausted during the whole Pregnancy and after I had Nathan, I’m just starting to feel creative again but I’ve taken it up a in putting into photography. I want, no I’m dieing to take a course and learn all the ins and outs of my digital camera. I want to learn to photos shop them. I need to learn.

My kids gave me paints last Christmas and I haven’t started to use them. I used to paint all the time. I think I need to take a life drawing course to get back into that. I use the excuse that my counter is not set up yet,. I should just go out and buy the stufff and build it mayself. I find I need to be creative.

I wonder where my inspiration and art went too.
Should have coffee and discuss this mom lack of inpiration. And I have found tha Mom’s are the ones that will out there ART aside because of the family. Never met a Man who did that. I’m sure there are some. But none that I know.

11 | Sharon

October 15th, 2007 at 7:28 am


Oh and I’m also afraid to start again. Fear of not being able to Create anymore.

12 | Ryan

October 18th, 2007 at 12:00 am


Funny, I just blogged similar thought a couple of weeks ago. As was passed on to me – written like a true artist!

Inspiration will find you. I’ve felt the same about my photography many times. Keep up with this, with your camera, and keep your eyes open. It’ll hit.

Suerte! Break a…erm…paintbrush. :-)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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