Monday, 20 May 2013

Creative Life Series: Cutting and Pasting for Inspiration


Creativity is a subject that has always fascinated me. Over the last few months I've been investing a lot of time in exercising my own creative muscles and learning more about how they work, and whether creativity really is something everyone has access to. So welcome to the first in a new series of posts where I share some of the techniques that work for me, and muse on some of the bigger questions around this subject.

Between blogging and my many creative pursuits, I'm always on the lookout for inspiration. Quite often it floats into my life through little effort on my part, simply through living life, but I'm also a great believer in actively seeking inspiration. One of my favourite ways to do this at the moment is cutting and pasting from magazines.

It's so much fun because I was an expert at this as a kid! A pair of scissors and Kay's catalogue could keep me quiet for hours. 


Lots and lots of very posh, often hardback, publishers' catalgoues turn up at my workplace. No one else has use of them, so... in a snip, home they come with me!


Once I have quite a collection of these and used magazines I make a cup of tea and have a session of leafing through all this paper goodness and cutting out any images that interest me in some way.







And what do I do with them all? 

Sometimes I stick an interesting image to a plain page in my sketchbook and mind map it - anything at all that comes to mind is scribbled down. It's amazing how many ideas emerge that way. A picture really does paint a thousand words.


Other images go on to inspire creative projects such as stationery making - I can scan in an image and print it to make writing paper - or use them to make envelopes, gift tags, etc.


Others go to play in my smash book, or I create moodboards. I love moodboards because they can act like goal-setting to keep me motivated, or simply act as a board of inspiration next time the creative ideas are being sluggish.



All this is made easier by a discerning expert in image selection...


It's great to know I have a go-to pack of images and real-life clipart stashed away. These clippings both inspire creative projects and provide materials for them. I absolutely love Pinterest, but there's also something wonderful about the smell and texture of paper, and the therapeutic snip snip snipping of an afternoon spent sitting on the floor surrounded by beautiful pictures.

Of course, the magazines and catalogues then go on to be recycled!

Do you collect images from magazines, etc.? And if not, what do you do with the magazines you won't read again?




28 comments:

  1. I love reading magazines and I have piles of them around the house. I was just thinking the other day that it would do me good to chop up a few for a mood board when deciding colours for the studio but I'm really struggling with the idea of taking a pair of scissors to the pages!!
    Rosie xx

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    1. Ooh, I have this problem with books! In the end it was the fear of being considered a hoarder that made me decide to give my magazines a new inspiring lease of life. x

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  2. I've used magazine pages to make mini bunting on cards and gifts as well as paper flowers. As kids we used to coil them up to makes beads for snazzy necklaces!

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    1. Ah, paper beads used to crop up in my craft books as a kid but I never tried it - such a good idea. x

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  3. I tend to keep whole magazines, which take up a lot of space - so should really try this. Images definitely inspire me when I'm feeling stuck and I love the idea of mind mapping them!

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    1. It's lots of fun to mind map and a really speedy way to force ideas too. x

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  4. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a moodboard! Sometimes, I have the urge to 'create' something, without really knowing where to start. I always reach for my stash of magazines, and the well thumbed ones often get snipped, ready to inspire in a different context on a moodboard. I love the collections that you have shared!
    Tania x

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    1. Whoever came up with the idea of moodboards was a genius! x

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  5. Oh I loved snipping images out of magazines as a child and teenager for various projects or just because I liked it! You've definitely made me want to go and get some magazines and start some mood and inspiration boards! x x x

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    1. It's very satisfying, cutting things out. A bit like colouring in, I think! x

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  6. I love working with magazines, and it's one of the main reasons why I buy them at all. They're a great "green" material to work with. I haven't quite got the hang of card or stationery making, but I do have several other items I hand-make from them. I'm currently experimenting in making a pet-bed (for my cats), though I need more magazines for it to continue.

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    1. A pet bed made from magazines sounds so intriguing! x

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  7. This is lovely Anna, I'm afraid I just hoard magazines although I went through a phase of cutting out my favourite articles to keep in a ring binder. I have a pile of craft magazines building up so perhaps an afternoon on snipping and sticking is in order. X

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    1. Maybe we should have a cut 'n' stick Creatives Unite sometime to help us reduce our magazine stashes and put them to use! x

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  8. Fluffy_duckling20 May 2013 22:35

    Im not sure it's as creative as your ideas but I collect pictures of wildlife and seasonal things from magazines and put them in a scrap book ordered by the months of the year...it reminds me what I love about the changing seasons, especially the winter months when I can get really low, it reminds me that there are still beautiful things out there then :-)

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    1. That's such a clever idea Alison! I might try that as I suffer from SAD, thank you! x

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  9. I have a collection of next catalogues from 2007 to now that i am systematically working my way through! I don't really get magazines, and if i do clear craft ones, I always keepthe christmas ones,and then tear out any projects I like. I can tell that this is going to be a really interesting series, great idea!

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    1. Next catalogues are amazing for cutting out, as I like the way the images are staged. x

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  10. Oh thank you for SUCH an inspirational post! When it comes to my crafting I am a total magpie and collect anything from corks and bottle tops to sweetie and cake wrappers, magazines and books like you. I bought a 1951 Pears Cyclopedia from a charity shop for £5 and I love,love, love it. I have used and sometimes photocopied things from it to use on any number of my journal projects, from recipe keepers, gardening journals, bespoke commissions you name it - it just makes things that more unique. Thank you again. If you have time I would love you to stop by my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CardsCakesandBakes and see the things I do. I will be stopping by at your blog more often now, that is for CERTAIN. Regards, Louise.xx

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    1. Your Pears edition sounds phenomenal! I collect all sorts of crafting materials like you, but magazines take up space so I'm more motivated to use them! x

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  11. This is so inspiring :) I keep so many little bits of paper and things that I can't throw away, and although I did things like this on my art course, I don't do it now. It's a great way to store pretty/inspiring/interesting scraps. When I'm in search of inspiration, I do head over to Pinterest and have a look around (I'm an addict!). But the idea of holding the pages in your hands and flicking through at a moment's notice is very appealing :) xx

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    1. Pinterest is fantastic for inspiration, isn't it? But you're right, there is something somehow more personal about paper collections, and I like to use both. x

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  12. What great ideas. Unfortunately the most interesting forms of paper coming near me is junk mail, comics and argos! I do love the image of sitting down and cutting though.

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    1. Aw, we need to get some interesting ephemera sent your way! x

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  13. Hi Anna, could you please explain what you mean by 'mind mapping' an image. Thanks.
    Love the blog.x

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    1. Hi Maria, I just mean brain storming - I stick the image to a blank page and write down absolutely everything that comes to mind in association with it. I love it because it forces my brain to think creatively and come up with new ideas. Give it a try! x

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  14. Cutting and sticking has always been one of my favourite things!! I can never keep a magazine pristine, I have a big box full of all the little snippets! My mum used to get so cross with me leaving tiny bits of paper around the house haha. The photos in this post are so lovely and colourful, it has put a big smile on my face :) xx Rachel

    http://pointlessprettythings.blogspot.com

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  15. Really enjoyed this post Anna! It's amazing what ideas and inspiration can come from images. Helen x

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