Creative Inspiration: Encouragement from Others

As John Donne said: “No man (or woman) is an island”. I guess one could live as a hermit somewhere, locked away, working on your art,  encouraging yourself creatively. That would not work for me. I appreciate and I am inspired by encouragement from others. 

Continuing my series on sources of Creative Inspiration, this post is actual inspired by a surprise I found that last evening.

We all have those precious items from our past that we keep tucked away somewhere. One of my most precious items was a book of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets from my 9th Grade English teacher. I have not seen it in many years and I thought that for some reason during a move it got lost; or I accidentally donated it to a thrift shop in a stack of books for donation.

I mourned its loss.

Last night I was checking the far recesses of my nightstand cabinet, which I store books I am going to “read someday in bed each night before I fall asleep”, but never get around to reading. I was curious what I had way in the back and found my old beloved book!!! I had not opened it in 8 or more years and forgot exactly my teacher had inscribed inside the cover.

My eyes flooded with tears when I read her inscription which included the words “in recognition of her excellent writing ability”. I have always loved writing (and have written a lot in my professional pay-the-bills RN career) and I forgot how much I loved it when I was in grade school through high school. (Disclaimer: I may not have mastered grammar or proofreading but I still love to write!)

Just reading these words again from my 9th grade English teacher made me feel as inspired in that moment as I did all those years ago. Her words of encouragement from the past resonate with me now, like she is right here with me saying: “Tierney, keep writing, I believe in you“.

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As far as quilting projects, I am so inspired creatively when I receive encouragement on a piece I am working on or one I have completed. I am encouraged creatively when I am uninspired to work on an art quilt and a friend encourages me to just start playing with the fabric and the inspiration with come in no time. One of my favorite silk art quilts I have made, Color Change, came out of sitting around with a friend having her throw fabric scraps at me for fun, saying “Here, why not try putting this combination together”, when I was feeling too intimidated to work on another silk scrap quilt.

Creative mentors who encourage you to do your art are important and wonderful to have in your life. See my old post Creative Inspiration: Quilting Mentors, for more on mentors.

So let’s all go out and encourage someone, you never know what lasting impression it will make.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”

– Author Unknown

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4 thoughts on “Creative Inspiration: Encouragement from Others

  1. knitnkwilt says:

    I agree. The right kind of praise makes me want to continue. The right kind of constructive criticism makes me want to improve.

    About writing. As a writing instructor (in one of my former lives) I agree that good writing is so much more than grammar and proof reading. I especially like the exploration, the beginnings of an idea and the refining it into writing. Kinda like my quilting. I especially like beginning.

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