Coming up with ideas for stained glass panel designs is perhaps the most fun part of the whole creative process. Someone asked me once about how I get my ideas. I told him that they just kind of evolve. I just wait, and they show up.
That’s not entirely true. I don’t just sit around waiting for an epiphany. I’d be waiting a very long time if that were the case. What I really do is feed my imagination.
I take walks in nature. I take walks in urbania. (I know, urbania’s not a real word, but it should be, don’t you think? Like, inclusive of cities, suburbs, towns, strip malls… Maybe there’s already a word for that. I’ll give Merriam Webster a call someday to find out.)
I take photographs everywhere I go. Well, not everywhere. That would just be creepy. But by consciously looking for photo subjects, I am training myself to notice things that might otherwise be overlooked. Basically I’m gathering images to study and play with and ruminate over.
And then all that visual fodder begins to shift and sift and coalesce into an image that can be translated into glass. Not to make this sound all ethereal and pretentious (or like a cow chewing its cud… “ruminate?” “fodder?”)
Sometimes the “image” is as simple as a brick-like pattern.
Sometimes it’s as silly as “Three Penguins on Ice.”
Maybe someday I will experience an epiphany. But until that day arrives, I will continue to feed my imagination. There’s not much worse than a starving imagination.
Where do you find your ideas?