01 Nov Staying Inspired With Ashley Alford
It is easy to become unmotivated and bored with our everyday routines. We recommend regrouping every morning and reminding yourself of what puts a smile on your face. Referring back to a previous post we wrote on How To Stay Inspired, you should set goals and reflect at the end of the day. The Stacy Garcia mantra is Stay Inspired, and with that we spoke to Ashley Alford, textile designer, on how she keeps inspired and motivated everyday with her designs.
Staying Inspired With Ashley Alford
Inquiring minds always want to know: “What inspires you?” When someone finds out you’re a designer or an artist, it’s inevitable that at some point during that conversation you will be asked the age old question… “What inspires you?” “Where does your inspiration come from?” or some variation of this concept that all artists are “inspired” to do what they do.
For me, I’ve always had a pretty standard answer no matter if it’s my Mom, my B.F.F. or a complete stranger who just presented me with this question. I would give an enthusiastic, “I’m inspired by everything!” and while that may not be untrue, it’s not completely true either. The truth is there have been many times when I’ve put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to “find inspiration” but let’s be real here, it can be super hard to “find inspiration” or “be inspired” every day or for every project you take on.
I’d been looking for some perspective on this whole “what inspires me” thing for quite some time and really just wanting to have fun again when I ran across a book called “Ladies Drawing Night”. The book is about professional artists, illustrators and designers that come together for a night and draw freely without any pressure. They pick an element, theme or material and create whatever comes to mind. I found this concept to be refreshing and just what I was looking for.
So to demonstrate this idea for you I grabbed a random book from my book shelf and decided to draw a random element and see where I could go with it. As I looked over my bookshelf my hands landed on “The New York Bartender’s Guide.” This book brought me back to my college days at F.I.T when I was bartending in NYC so I immediately got excited, plus this gave me a good excuse to make a cocktail while I painted!
I started by picking out some fun looking drinks and then did a quick pencil sketch on a watercolor paper. I like this type of paper because it has some texture to it. I then fit as many elements (aka: my favorite cocktails) on the page as possible.
Once I was happy with the sketches I moved on to painting my motifs (my favorite part). I like to use Dr. Ph. Martin’s dyes and Windsor Newton Gouache. But for this project I just used the dyes. I really like to use dyes because it forces you to work fast and they are great for blending colors together.
These are the 10 different cocktails I chose to paint. Tequila Sunrise, Shot with lemon and salt, Bee’s Knees, Kir Royal, Manhattan, Sangria, Margarita, Planter’s Punch, Seltzer and a Bellini.
After painting I scanned my drinks into the computer and created patterns. I saw so many different pattern possibilities and cute product ideas.
Below are some examples of end uses for this pattern.
Through this process I realized this, I can be inspired by almost anything and it’s not so much what I’m creating but the act of creating itself. I love the process of collaborating with my clients who are mostly interior designers and product designers. I get to interpret their vision into a reality and that is what really inspires me and motives me.
So my advice to you if you are struggling with inspiration like we all do at times is this, don’t feel pressure anymore to be “inspired” just concentrate on the process of creating and good things will come from it I promise, isn’t that what it’s about anyway?
About Ashley Alford:
Ashley Alford is a textile designer specializing in decorative fabrics for home fashion. Summers spent drawing henna tattoos in Louisiana sparked her passion for patterns. A few years later, she discovered Textile Surface Design at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.It was, well, a match made in heaven.
Bringing her extensive study, experience and expertise to every project, Ashley’s ultimate goal is to collaborate with clients to create unique textiles that tell a compelling story.
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