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Forum topic by Arthouse posted 02-06-2013 08:03 PM 1448 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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250 posts in 2649 days

02-06-2013 08:03 PM

Lumberjocks has increased my ability in the technical area seeing all the different types of jigs and setups of new machinery but for me all that is immaterial when it comes to deciding what to make in the one of a kind department. Since this site spans the globe I want to ask for help in how does one fuel the creative mind that comes with new designs. New one of kind pieces not plagurized from other designers or a different play on an old design. Picasso painted not just one painting but many at a time untill he had all the answers. Do we just evolve into these great pieces with time ? Or is it testing new techniques ? Or is the creative mind fired with nature or even spirituality.Does the heart play an important task in creativity. What influences the unknown. All this and Heaven too.

-- "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind but the wind and sun are the healing factors of the heart

22 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2513 days

#1 posted 02-06-2013 08:47 PM

What I have done is to buy a lot of drawing stuff – colored pencils, chalk, lots of paper, charcoal pencils, the works, including a lap drawing board. Then I sit in my recliner at night watching TV until something starts to develop on the paper. I might not be a great artist, but I try to draw things that should not be buildable in my shop.

Then I concentrate on how to build them. Right now, I am working on a very large bandsaw box called Bouquet of Hearts, a floating bouquet of heart shapes, all kind of overlapping, with a drawer of two in each one. The “stem” will be a curved piece of wood mounted to a double heart shaped base. First time on paper, it looked almost impossible, considering each heart had to be a different type of wood and the hearts would be kind of in front and behind each other, just like a bouquet. Now, I’m down to mostly sanding, finishing and lining the drawers.

Another way is to kind of let the wood guide you. Take a plank of wood with grain in it, and study the grain to develop a piece of furniture, knick-knack, etc, that will totally emphasize the grain. That’s kind of how my “water on wood” table came along. It’s in my projects, and won a daily top 3, if I remember correctly.

Just a couple of ways I do it.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2922 days

#2 posted 02-06-2013 09:05 PM

I’m with Tennessee. I have a sketch pad by my chair and when I see something or think of something I make a rough sketch and name it. I’m not an artist and it isn’t intended to be. It’s an idea. Sometimes I add to it and build it sometimes it never makes it off the drawing board but I am always thinking.

-- Life is good.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4217 days

#3 posted 02-06-2013 09:21 PM

Art is where skill meets imagination.

As a woodworker, photographer, and musician, I find that where I usually fall short is on the skill side of the equation. I can come up with a vision, but my attempts to bring that vision to life rarely live up to my imagination. In my case, I think it is mainly because there are not enough hours in the day for a person with a full-time job and family life to reach a really high level of proficiency in three different media.

For some people, the opposite is true. They have great natural ability to perform the skills of an artistic pursuit, but seem to lack the ability to consistently come up with original ideas.

A true artist, IMO, is one who has both great skills and great imagination. Are these strictly natural characteristics that we are born with, or can they be developed? I think it’s a bit of both. Skills can certainly be improved through practice. Imagination is probably a little trickier, but I think the more we expose ourselves to the creative visions of others, the more we stimulate our own.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3302 days

#4 posted 02-06-2013 09:45 PM

i agree with everything you guys have said, and to me the really big thing is to get out of the box…i have been so inspired by benji’s work that it has really caused me to think harder of what i can do to create something of beauty and have it be something never before made, and that is what benji does…ive never seen anyone make the things he does….but this is a good stimulating forum here.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Arthouse's profile


250 posts in 2649 days

#5 posted 02-06-2013 09:58 PM

Grizzman , I love Benji’s idea’s but they are a little bulky for my taste. Furniture like the french thinking is light and airy suppose to fit into a room with scale and proportion not overpower it. If you want to really get inspired thru books look at an encyclopedia of furniture from beginning to now. I guess I didn’t clarify myself . The drawing pens and paper are a given . I am looking for where true inspiration comes from. Is it a gift , is it in nature , is it in your heart , does it come from a vacation or is it come from a collective process from the mind.What is the root of creativity. Dan

-- "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind but the wind and sun are the healing factors of the heart

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3284 days

#6 posted 02-06-2013 09:59 PM

Strictly the individual; every person will have a different level of creativity and they will get their inspiration for that creativity from a multitude of sources.

For me, one creative design may come straight from the heart, yet another will be an idea from something that gave me a visual stimulation and I’ve had some just come to me in my sleep (maybe a brain fart).

-- John @

View DS's profile


2917 posts in 2419 days

#7 posted 02-06-2013 10:26 PM

Skill can be practiced.
Imagination can be practiced.

Inspiration seems to be more inherent to the individual.
One person can look upon a scene and draw inspiration from it while a myriad of others pass by without a second thought.

If I have practiced my skills and my imagination, then, when inspiration strikes, I can flourish into creating art.

I made a painting in less than three hours once. It was a fairly large sofa-sized canvas and my wife was freaking out at how fast I was flinging the colors. I had promised to paint the canvas as a gift for her for almost year before making the attempt and she criticized me for being careless, even though she thoroughly loved the resulting painting.

What she missed was, that for nearly three months, I had painted the scene in my mind over and over and over—drawing on different inspirations. Once I knew what I wanted to paint, I couldn’t move the color fast enough to keep up with my minds eye.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 2217 days

#8 posted 02-06-2013 10:27 PM

I believe creativity begins in the heart, in your passion of what you love about life that surrounds you; then it explodes into your mind with a concept of how you will accomplish this.

Having just said that; I am not all too sure if this is true because I haven’t found my creative side yet in working with wood.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View Spoontaneous's profile


1334 posts in 3329 days

#9 posted 02-07-2013 12:21 AM

Arthouse ~ ‘Creativity’ is one of my favorite subjects. After taking another gander at your completed projects it seems to me that the creative juices flow quite readily for you. But I also know that for some of us, ideas and concepts can come about almost in waves.

I can only speak for myself as to where and how to fuel ideas… but I believe there first has to be a ‘willingness’ to let them flow. As mentioned in a couple of the previous responses, a sketchpad is worth having nearby. I enjoy mindless ‘doodling’ and find all sorts of ideas slipping in the back door. Sometimes I doodle with a particular thing in mind.. like a spoon.. and doodle towards that end. What often happens is that the pen will sort of take off on its own almost… and I look down and see some new shape or object that I was not consciously thinking about.

The mother load of inspiration for me comes from language…. words and phrases that beg to be played with. Verbal ‘puns’ bring about many opportunities for new ideas and shapes. ‘Sublime’ brings about an image of a submarine with the hull being a lime. ‘Bull frog’ makes me think of a frog’s body with a cow’s head and horns… (a herd of frogs?). ‘A womb with a view’... etc., etc.

‘Association’ is another amazing ‘tool’ to get the juices flowing. Taking two disparate things and combining in some unique fashion. One thing I used to do was to make a chart with say… ten cells up and down and ten cells left to right. I would randomly list words, concepts and things in the boxes as they occurred to me and then I would cross-reference top to bottom and left to right and end up with 100 possibilities of which a few would be viable.

Also, for my work at least, I find that random shapes can be a great source. A shadow on the wall, a torn leaf or even a stain. Today I saw this big oil stain on the pavement outside a warehouse and I immediately ‘saw’ a future spoon. (I’m always looking).

However it comes about…. I really enjoy the process. I love shapes, color, contrast, textures, proportions, etc. My eye is easily entertained and somewhere down the road some forgotten image from the past will revisit and I will be left thinking…. “Where in the heck did that come from?”

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View jeffro's profile


165 posts in 2691 days

#10 posted 02-07-2013 12:56 AM

check out this book its called Imagine, how creativity works Its by Jonah Lehrer you can get it on disk too so you can hear it in the wood shop, its a pretty book

Take care

-- Jeffro,knockonwood

View oldnovice's profile


6853 posts in 3367 days

#11 posted 02-07-2013 01:55 AM

My creativity never comes from something as a whole put rather a portion or part of something. A joint, spacing between two parts, length versus height, etc that lead me in some direction for some project. I feel that I have never created an art project that started out to be just art.

I also feel that in most cases my imagination is more developed than my skill level.

On the other hand there are a lot of things I make out of necessity for functional purposes and imagination has little to do with those projects … as my wife says “just build it, it’s not rocket science”!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Pop's profile


427 posts in 3945 days

#12 posted 02-07-2013 03:34 PM

Many years ago I was the staff artist/photographer for the City Engineering Dept. I was trained as a comercial artist. We create on demand. There’s not time to sit and wait for a thunderbolt from above to impart creativity. My secret weapon was what is called a morgue. That’s a couple of file cabinets stuffed with anything that has caught my eye filed & indexed. When you have a project you start digging. I moved on to designing and managing the City cable TV station. TV production is a creative playground. You shoot anything that moves and then you edit. Editing is were the real creativity happings. About 2/3s of the finished show happings spontaneous.

Were am I going with this? IMO creativity is the result of life experences. All the things you’ve seen, all the thiongs you’ve felt, all the things you’ve experenced. Pile ‘em all togeather and out pops n idea. As for drawing a project before I build. ALWAYS ! I may draw and redraw a project while I think it through. I spent a good many years before the art gig as a draftsman. I can look a item over, remember it and draw it. When I finish my board design I’ve already built it.

Bill “Pop” Golden

-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View Arthouse's profile


250 posts in 2649 days

#13 posted 02-07-2013 06:34 PM

Pop , You answered my question. You are absolutely right on. You hit the nail on the head perfect. I understand now it is” all” life experiences in one mental mixing bowl churning constantly together until one has all the answers for a new design or problem and out pops the solution. Sometimes days go by the weather changes and then the idea is ready to come out from within. It reminds me to always be attentive always searching with an open mind open heart. Never negitive to close the gap of life’s beauty from going within . Similar to a river flows thru you without obstruction . I must add it helps to relieve the bondage of the past mistakes of life by walking thru the fire of fear with honesty to dissipate one’s ignorance of oneself to go on there spiritual journey . Therefore the connection as a woodworker or artist to nature is pure and free to let there creativity flow like the invisable wind. Thanks Pop. All this and Heaven too.

-- "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind but the wind and sun are the healing factors of the heart

View TexPenn's profile


459 posts in 3686 days

#14 posted 02-07-2013 07:11 PM

At the risk of offending some, I would say the use of marijuana would get you thinking outside the box! Its as natural as the wood you are working.

-- Ted, TX or PA

View MaroonGoon's profile


281 posts in 1957 days

#15 posted 02-07-2013 08:14 PM

I relate this way of designing to my profession. I work in architecture and you would be surprised how much architects look at nature for inspiration in designing the structure and form of their buildings. I am just a novice in woodworking but I always look to there for inspiration for those reasons. Even if you don’t use nature to develop some ideas, take a walk outside and clear your head and ideas will come!

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

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