I’ve been planning for a while to share pictures of my rather odd soft sculpture Entwife, but have been hesitant to do so. Tolkien fans are not likely to see an Ent in my rose-topped tree, but Entwife seemed like the right name for it. If I had tried to make an Ent from the start, this piece would have looked completely different, which shows how inspiration drives the creative process.
This sculpture was a color challenge organized by my art doll group. Participants drew two crayons from a bag without looking. We were to make a doll or sculpture using the two colors as the main colors in our piece.
Before we drew, we wrote down the colors we thought would be hardest to work with. There was a whole box of crayons in that bag, but for some reason, I thought in terms of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple. Yellow and orange seemed like the hardest colors I could get, but I was wrong. So very very wrong.
I pulled brown and pink out of the bag, and was stumped. I didn’t even think of brown as a color. That’s how little I used it. And pink? Not something I used either. When I quilt, I gravitate towards blue and purple with other bright colors thrown in.
Brown? Pink?? Really???
At first I was stumped. Brown made me think of trees. And pink made me think of flowers.
Then, an image popped into my mind: a tree trunk topped by a rose. And for some crazy reason, that made me think of the Ents in The Lord of the Rings. Ents and their female counterparts, Entwives, are tree-herds and look a lot like trees themselves.
I thought of Ents getting married, and how an Entwife might deck herself out for the ceremony. It gave me a great excuse to cover the piece with crystals and beads, and it also suggested the veil hanging from the limbs.
Where I started affected my creation. If I had been tasked to make an Entwife, I would have made a realistic apple tree with a female face molded into the bark and branches for hands. I might have put some flowers in her branches or some beads on the trunk, but I don’t think the rose “face” would ever have occurred to me.
Entwife is inspired by Tolkien’s creations, but not directly. By starting with the colors, I came to my Entwife in a roundabout way, and wound up with a more abstract and creative interpretation of an Entwife than I would have if I’d been making an Ent from the start.
Have you had inspiration lead you somewhere unexpected?