Now, I love inspiration boards. I can spend hours and hours browsing though the lovely collages of fashion photos, floral arrangements, stationary samples, and so on. They're lots of fun to look at, but I'm not sure how much they really inspire me.
If I had to name the system that I use for arranging different ideas together in order to communicate a unifying theme I think I'd call it--and my partner-in-crime will back me up on this--inspiration piles. Sometimes making a giant stack of books and paper and yarn and ribbon helps me to see just exactly what is amazing about each of those single elements and, even better, the fantastic ways all those individual things fit together in spirit and meaning.
When I'm at work, the same thing sometimes happens. Fortunately for my co-workers, my pack rat habits aren't nearly as pronounced as they are when I'm at home. But there's always so much to look at and sift through, and every once in a while I come across something that I can't quite bear to part with. I end up tucking away one small thing after another and sooner or later, there's another inspiration pile.
I'm fortunate, both at work and at home, to able to surround myself with mountains and mountains of fascinating stuff. I'll be honest; sometimes I do wish that I could keep things neatly filed away, like with like. I really do like structure and order. It's just that I can't quite seem to keep the chaos at bay long enough to establish those perfectly-sorted systems. And most of the time, I'm okay with that--even when the incredibly well-mannered guy that I'm lucky enough to live with is decidedly not.
So here's to inspiration piles. And inspiration drawers, inspiration notebooks, and inspiration clotheslines. And yes, to inspiration boards. To whatever it takes to help you see the incredibly surprising way that two or three or twenty different things can fit together to become something entirely new. There's no wrong way to kick-start your creative thinking. I, for one, will use any trick I can find...