Unexpected Inspiration

What does a stainless steel tree have to do with writing and books? It is all about surprises and inspiration.

We made a trip down to the St. Louis Art Museum last weekend because I wanted to see the exhibit on silks from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. I’ve recovered from a tendon issue and am again knitting and crocheting and want to get my loom back out. It was time for some color inspiration.

As we were walking from the parking lot to the museum, we stopped to admire the reflecting pool at the base of Art Hill. When we turned around to face the museum, I looked past the statue of Louis XIV and around one corner of the building I spotted a silver tree. What is that?

This stainless steel sculpture isn’t new, but somehow this was the first time I had spotted it. I mean really. It is as big as a tree!

But inspiration is a lot like that. I expected to go to the museum and be inspired by all of the glorious textiles. And I was. I noted the hanging (see below) created for a 60th birthday celebration and how contemporary it looked. Sorry for the reflections in the glass. They didn’t seem to take my obsessive need to take photos into consideration.

In spite of the 100s of Chinese dragons that I’ve seen in art of various kinds, this time something hit me. They look surprisingly like the local piasa painted on the bluffs outside of Alton, IL. If you’ve never seen the piasa, it looks like a dragon and has the face of a man with stag’s horns and lion’s feet. In the weavings, the dragons had expressive faces, horns, and clawed hands. The clouds around them looked much like wings.

Inspiration is so much like a trip to the Art Museum. You’re going about your merry way when all of a sudden – HEY! WRITE ABOUT ME! It will be interesting to see what stories this trip inspires.