The Inspiration of Silence
People speak too much and yet say too little about inspiration. Being an artist means hearing the question, “What is your inspiration?” over and over again.
There is no straightforward answer to this. There are lots of things that inspire me, and yet inspiration is also dependent on many situations, moods, the seasons even.
I might feel inspired to make something with a tool I’ve just bought, but then do I reply that the hammer inspires me? I guess that is not what people expect to hear. But the new tool might offer me the impetus to make something whose actual inspiration comes from somewhere else.
“Nature,” is often an answer, but it is a boring answer given by many, and actually tells you nothing. Nature is so different it depends on so many factors. I feel like saying this single word ‘nature’ doesn’t describe it well enough, it doesn’t mean anything, doesn’t describe anything in particular really.
I love nature: it is immensely important to me. I love to escape to wild places: I would love to live in the middle of nowhere, or to have a tree-house for weekends; to be closer to nature.
And what is it I seek in nature?
I love rocks, volcanoes, rough textures, and the hoarse sounds the ocean makes as the waves break out on the shore. I love the silence and crash of the water in a waterfall. I love to be surrounded by silent landscapes. I love the qualities of silence to be found in nature.
How to write about such silence? It is not noisy, tiring or disturbing, like our outer lives. It is an interior quality of nature, as if one is hearing with an inner ear; as if the body can be still, and listen to the many soft and hoarse sounds, and the silent voices of rocks and canyons. It is a silence that for me is full of wakefulness, the serenity of millennia.
These natural sounds, so nice to listen to, have the power to awaken the imagination and to create images; images you can really see, that eventually become refined and honed into delicate jewellery. In order to be inspired, and to create, the most important thing is to create harmony between time and silence.
When I am in this silence, I can ask what is really important to me, what do I really need; what do I value; what can I offer? What can I give to others? What is the best I have in me?
Silence feeds our imaginatings. Silence is peaceful. Early in the morning in the silence, I can hear myself think, and this is the time when the best creations are born.
Silence gives me time out. It gives me space to process my experiences, to concentrate and purge my thoughts and ideas. In a world full of continual distraction, it becomes increasingly difficult to tune out all the noise and to just hear myself.
We can talk to many people, but with how many of them do we feel comfortable when silent? It is a measure of a relationship. And many people are uncomfortable with silence, in relationship and in nature.
For me, however, it is the most important thing we can enjoy – time in nature, drawing its silence into us.
I am more about feelings than about seeing: I love to feel what I see. I want to feel the textures and hear the voices of what I see. I want to hear the voices of the wind and rain; to smell the damp earth, the whispering grass. I need to hear the sentient hush of the landscape. For me, these are all part of the great Silence of Nature.
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