Finding Inspiration for Art: On Pinterest

Yeah, yeah: I have had an iffy relationship with Pinterest. Here’s the first post I wrote about my brief initial fling, and here’s the follow-up post. When I wrote that, I had given up on Pinterest. But it didn’t last: most of the artists with whom I work and all of my editors are fans of Pinterest. They mention things they’ve found there and people whose work they discovered there. And so I heaved the big sigh and joined in again. I’m not even thinking about all the issues involved, from copyright to copying. I know I should think about those, I do; but I need to be there, for a variety of reasons, and I just try to do my best not to abuse anything. Such are the perils of much of social media.

It has, indeed, been a good thing: I’ve found artists to send to my editors, and I’ve found some really useful info: in the early days of surfing around, I found a fabulous site with tutorials for every embroidery stitch under the sun. Alas, back then I wasn’t thinking about how to keep track of stuff, and now I have no idea where to find it. Someday when I have time, I’ll go searching.

These days I really do try to keep better track of things I find there, and that’s where the inspiration comes in. As I said in last Friday’s post about finding inspiration in magazines, I most often get ideas for embellishing garments not from seeing other clothing, but from seeing something on paper or canvas that I want to try to translate onto fabric. Art journal boards on Pinterest are excellent sources of ideas–not things to copy, because of course that’s impossible (not to mention creepy), but things to try to replicate in fabric. Stamped backgrounds, textured surfaces, grunge text.

I try to limit the time I spend wandering around there by letting myself do it only when I’m eating brunch. Does that work? Um, not all that well: I’ll find a board with a ton of stuff I want to check out and start following links and find myself hooked, just like everyone else. But I really do try to limit the time I spend there. And I try to make that time useful, as well. Here are my (totally amateur) tips for keeping track of things you find:

~~if you love a bunch of things that someone has pinned, follow them so you can check back regularly to see what else they’ve found

~~if you find something totally inspiring, track it down to its original source and see what else you can find there. Be prepared to spend some time, both because it often takes time to track things down and because there’s a good chance you’ll stumble onto a site where you’ll find tons more fabulous eye candy.

~~repin things you want to keep track of with a note in the text box reminding yourself why

~~if it comes from a blog that it turns out you really like, add that blog to your reading list

~~if it’s a tutorial, make an effort to find and thank the original poster for making the information available, and check out what else they offer.


Apter_Pulse_CoverYou might like finding out what other artists have to say about their lives and work inThe Pulse of Mixed Media, by Seth Apter.


Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.



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