Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Family

A friend commented to me: “I thought your blog was just about quilting…”

If you have been following my blog you have figured out it is more than a discussion of quilting techniques and ideas. I enjoy writing about the creative process which includes the audiobooks I listen to while creating, food I enjoy when taking a break from creating (so I can be adequately nourished to continue creating), organizing the space in which I create and some general life topics that some how tie into creating. Of course I do throw in a couple quilting specific posts here and there!

This post begins a series on a topic I want to explore: Creative Inspiration. I will share some of my major sources of creative inspiration and if you are a creative person I would love hear about your sources of inspiration in the Comments.

My number one source of Inspiration is my immediate family which include my sister, brother, and parents (both deceased) as well as my husband. This post relates to inspiration from my biologic family and I will discuss inspiration from my wonderful husband in another post.


My younger sister is an amazing woman and mother. She is a very creative person. She has been a major source of inspiration as it was her reaction to the second quilt I ever made (which I sent to her as a surprise) that inspired me to embrace quilting as a hobby. I have made her and her family numerous quilts over the years and they keep them until they are complete worn and threadbare and treat each one like a precious possession. How could one not be inspired to keep quilting? She was also the one who encouraged me to “get off my butt” and pursue my dream of starting tierneycreates. She worked with me on specific tasks, goals and timelines. She helped move tierneycreates from a daydream to a reality. She continues to cheerlead and be a pivotal source of inspiration.


My younger brother is an amazing man and father. While he was in undergraduate study he knew he wanted to be in business for himself and by the time he was in graduate school he had successfully started his entrepreneurial career. As a young man he told me “I just do not want to work for someone else, I do not want to spend my life as an employee”. He has such vision and drive that he has propelled himself toward the life that he wanted, despite and roadblocks or struggles. His entrepreneurial creativity example also inspired me to start tierneycreates. I do not see me leaving my “day job” in health care anytime soon but it is exciting to experience some of what he experiences as an entrepreneur.


My mother was a very creative woman and used to teach drama. She loved color and enjoyed interior decorating. I remember as a child we had many themed rooms in our house all uniquely decorated. She passed when I was in my 20s from breast cancer. I think I inherited her flair for color and design.


My father (who passed in 2008) is my greatest source of inspiration. He was an educator, social worker, civil rights activist and community leader. Growing up in the 1970s where not a lot of African American history was taught in schools, my father thought it was important that I learn specifically about great African American innovators, inventors, activists and leaders. From a young age this inspired me to take risks despite adversity. My father grew up in the segregated South during the 1930s -1940s and he was involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and 1960s (he even met Martin Luther King, Jr. and other great Civil Rights leaders). Despite his experiences with great adversity and segregation he taught us to always treat everyone equally and never to think anyone is less than you because they are different from you. People are just people. He inspired my openness to new experiences, new people and new ideas, which I think is important in the creative process and defined the core of who I am as a person.

My father shared many inspiring stories with us from growing up in the South during a difficult time for minorities, here is one of them:

In the late 1940s I got on a bus and sat near a man who called me a (racial slur) and loudly said “I don’t like you, (racial slur)”. I calmly responded “but if you got to know me, you would like me.” This relaxed the tension and opened friendly dialogue. At the end of the bus ride we shook hands and pleasantly parted ways. – Raoul Davis, Sr.

Strawberry Fields - Central Park’s Memorial to John Lennon, taken 2008 during my trip to NYC.
Strawberry Fields – Central Park’s Memorial to John Lennon, taken 2008 during a family trip to NYC.

What are your sources of inspiration? 

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