I work in a world with a lot of artificially constructed structures and images, and those structures and images have a lot of straight lines, right angles and cold, industrial, unfeeling surfaces. Computer monitors, e-mail composition windows, 8 1/2 x 11 paper with black lines on it, rectangular desks, rectangular parking spaces in dark grey rectangular parking garages, and so on.
It's also the case that I try to do creative work: building interactive and engaging websites, collaborating with people to find innovative solutions to challenging problems, creative writing, creative thinking, and more.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to do creative work surrounded by pieces of infrastructure that don't elicit creativity, and that sometimes even discourage it.
For a while now, I've been starting my day with coffee or tea poured into one of two hand-made mugs that I bought earlier this year. The mugs were made by Ben Clark, who is an amazing potter and teacher from Richmond, now living in Cincinnati.
The mugs are still "built" items as opposed to "naturally occurring" ones, but they are built in a way that I can marvel at and appreciate what went into that process. They are elemental, with the textures and ingredients of their making on display as you use them. They are a simple and singular result of an inspired creative act.
And so when I start my day with these mugs, I feel a little more connected to the sources of creativity and inspiration that make me feel most alive in my work, and in my life.
For some people, it's ceramics that have that effect. For others it's plants, or sculpture, or art on the wall.
What pieces of your surroundings bring you inspiration and creativity in your work and life?