Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Inspired by... 1st Edition
One of the questions I am most often asked is: "how did you get the idea to do/make/create that?" Well, the truth of the matter is that I can't always trace the root of an idea back to a singular source because I am constantly on the lookout for anything and everything that I can translate into a design element for an event. But, whenever possible, I try to log the things that inspire me in my work and in my life.
So... here it goes... I am going to make a commitment to share at least one of my inspirations every week. I won't lie - promising a weekly blog feature scares me a bit - but I am going to give it a whirl in the hopes of opening the window into my mind just a little bit more each week.
And now... the first official edition....
During a recent trip to London, I had the opportunity to spend a few hours in the Tate Modern museum. As with any visit to a museum (especially because they are so few and far between for me) I was totally overwhelmed with the number of things to see and could only take in about half of the open exhibits. But the one that captured my attention the most was by the British artist Cornelia Parker called "30 Pieces of Silver." It is the sole exhibit in an offset, rectangular gallery with dramatically high ceilings and is comprised of hundreds of pieces of flattened silver (flatware, pitchers, platters) divided into 30 groups, all suspended from the ceiling with invisible fishline to float about 2 feet off the ground.
"30 Pieces of Silver" is categorized by the museum as sculpture, but one of the things I love about this piece is that I also see it as performance and process art... each piece needed to be carefully selected, thoughtfully flattened and precisely hung. It plays with our understanding of function, of space and of proportion. While positioned as unapproachable fine art, it begs for interaction as the objects are common and placed within arm's reach. The groupings are set in such a way that they feel like floating tabletops - maybe a child could sit at a table of this height - or maybe it would be set in a Japanese restaurant and you'd sit on tatami mats. When I stood in the gallery, I felt as if I were surrounded by hundreds of independent objects, but when I look at the photo of the exhibit I see a ballroom filled with 30 dining tables, each one slightly different than the one beside it.
These endless juxtapositions and possibilities remind me to push the limits of traditional media, to see common objects in uncommon ways, to put as much thought into the arranging of an object as to the selection of the object itself and to seeks ways to give old materials new life. Do I see a design for a wedding? No. But this fuels my fire for thoughtful creativity which builds upon itself over time.
The more you look at, the more you see... and that, my friends, is my constant inspiration.