in·spi·ra·tion - an inspiring influence; any stimulus to creative thought or action
What I do in this situation is to seek out inspiration, sometimes from unusual sources. I can either stumble upon inspiration or seek it out. For example since nature can be an excellent inspirational source and it is everywhere around us, I often take a weekend trip to the mountains or simply go hiking. This serves to both clear the mind and also to open my eyes to new shapes and forms. A subtle curve along the surface of a rock ledge, unique shapes of trees, meandering streams, fallen leaves, waterfalls, unusual yet harmonious shapes in nature, curved shapes of polished rocks, all attract my eye. These organic shapes influence my ideas for my designs. Every season brings us new forms and shapes from which to derive art . Often I bring a small pocket-sized sketchpad along with me to draw the outline of an interesting shape or formation I have seen. I have this sketchpad with me more often than not, never sure when I might stumble on to an interesting shape. Another excellent source of design inspiration can be found in the architecture around us. Unusual buildings, bridges, pavilions, monuments and photographs can also serve to provide design ideas in my work. Inspiration can also be derived from every-day items, the shape of a tray, household objects, etc.
From the sketches I then begin to use my imagination as to how a particular shape can evolve into wood art I create. The shape from the sketch can either influence the complete design of the wood art or simply to influence one or two elements of the design. A collage of different elements I have seen can also be instrumental in the creation of a new design or art form. The conclusion to this is that we are surrounded by so much inspiration for design, it is well worth the time and effort to get out and seek new ideas for art forms. The process of taking ourselves away from our studios to seek out inspiration also clears the mind. I feel like I'm recharged after a day or two away from my studio, ready to tackle a new design and create an art form from a shape or image which has inspired me.