Thoughts of Design Inspiration

Lobster trap art


Can Lobstering Inspire Creativity?

Happy lobster buoy bat shopper

Happy lobster buoy bat shopper

Now that I have been here in Maine for a year I am starting to understand how important the whole Lobster and everything that goes with it is for people here.  When you wonder around in Maine you end up seeing lobster related objects everywhere – souvenirs, traps, floats (or buoys),  signs, food and so on. I have taken countless pictures of “everything lobster” and many of them are inspirational. On the beach you see plenty – the trap marker buoys with great colors,  traps and bait bags  washed up on the beach all the time. Sometimes they have all gotten mangled together in very interesting ways with various forms of other things floating around in the ocean.

Lobster traps, bait bags and rope combined by the ocean into an artistic form

Lobster traps, bait bags and rope combined by the ocean into an artistic form

The rope bags that hold the bait come in bright colors, often yellow, orange or green. Every once in a while you see one that has weathered beautifully or broken up so that it creates a different shape like the one in the picture next to the seaweed. It has formed itself to resemble the seaweed form!

Lobster trap bait bag washed up on the beach

Lobster trap bait bag washed up on the beach

There are so many crafts that use the lobster theme, the floats can make beautiful decorative items, sometimes they are made into bats! (see picture) The local candy store makes lobster shaped chocolates. There are key chains shaped like lobster, mouse pads, towels, dishes, clothing , stuffed lobster toys, jewelry, and of course, lobster beer! (Well, it’s not made out of lobster…) And don’t forget about the lobster trap Christmas tree.  Various towns make their own, in Rockland there’s a whole event for it. Talking about lobster art – how about the picture by Bob Orsillo, the Night of the Lobster Man…


Lobster trap tree at Nubble Light


The Night of the Lobster Man by Bob Orsillo

This lobster trap marker was literally glowing on the beach. I have no idea how it’s possible, but it’s not a trick photo!

Glowing lobster buoy, not an enhanced photo!

Glowing lobster buoy, not an enhanced photo!

The lobster lane gathering of lobster markers in various colors can inspire one to create clustery colorful things. It is like a big earring!

Lobster buoy signage

Lobster buoy signage

The stack of traps is very geometrical, makes one think of modern wire designs. You can combine blocks of different color, sort of like legos. It could inspire one to make a design with lots and lots of cubes or rectangle shapes.


I haven’t yet attempted to make lobster jewelry, but I’m sure that time will come! I have collected  many trap parts and have plans to make some decorative items with them. The options are really endless!


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Blue Designs

Recently while browsing at a crafts bazaar my attention was caught by a beautiful blue stained glass piece hanging on a display. It had this wonderful clean flow and coloring and the shape instantly suggested to me “seaweed”. Now, the artist told me she thinks of her design as jelly fish or octopus, but that it’s really up to the viewer to decide. It reminded me of seaweed shapes I’ve admired on the beach and some of my own recent attempts trying to replicate those shapes.

Art glass by Dasken Designs

Art glass by Dasken Designs

This glass piece gave me instant inspiration, and I could’t get it off my mind. I ended up going back the next day and purchasing it. I began thinking of jewelry inspired by the design and interior design that it could live in. I ended up finding this website ( where you can make ideabooks of home designs- furnished room designs, accessories, products and so on. I made an ideabook featuring blue rooms and products inspired by the blue in the glass decoration.

blue ideabook

Blue aqua ideabook that I created – see it at

For me the best environment I would see this art glass octopus in would be something shore or cottage style with cool clean tones and airy feel, with ocean nearby.  The person living in this space would have an outfit that fits the theme. The blue rustic bead necklaces I’ve been working on recently would work well and I found pieces for an outfit that would also go with the necklace.

Blue outfit example with Eileen Fisher top, Tommy Hilfiger shoes, skirt by unknown designer and Evädesigns rustic shore wood necklace.

Blue outfit example with my rustic shore wood necklace.

Blue table - selection from Platt's Beach House Furnishings

Blue table – selection from Platt’s Beach House Furnishings

While looking at the photos for the ideabook I found this really awesome blue glass chandelier. It is definitely seaweed! The full picture is included in the ideabook.

Chandelier by Dale Chihuly

Chandelier by Dale Chihuly

I had to include some Finnish design in my picture, a painting for the wall by Simo Mantere (juuret – roots) and the forever timeless Kartio glasses on the table!

It is great how other forms of design can inspire you to create in our own medium.  It gives you a more complete view and understanding that can open up your mind for further exploring with your own work. It’s good to open up the curtains every once in a while and look outside!

Kartio glass by Kaj Franck

Kartio glass by Kaj Franck

"Juuret" by Simo Mantere

“Juuret” by Simo Mantere


Fuzzy Yarn Egg Flies – Are They Beads?

The other day while I was at a sporting goods shop I was taken by a small display right by the shop counter. It had these really cute and fuzzy looking colorful balls lined up  in tiny little rows that at first glance looked like beads to me.flyfisheggs

Of course, they weren’t beads at all, but since I don’t do fly fishing to me they looked like beads.  The man at the counter told me that they  were trout eggs. Trout eggs are yarn egg flies made out of this fuzzy bright colored bug yarn used in the art of fly tying. I was instantly planning how one could make earrings using these neat findings!  I then got really interested in how these crafty balls were actually made and started watching youtube videos of fly fishermen tying these fascinating “bugs”. It does seem to have many similarities to beading and jewelry making, various small specialty tools, strong nylon thread (like fireline) and a neat looking vise where the hook is held while the egg (or fly) is tied on it. There are also many small beads used for eyes and heads, and many colorful, shiny and fuzzy materials.

Woolly bugger

Woolly bugger


Fly fishing flies


Nice green color scheme on this fly!

Gaines Bass King Popper

Gaines Bass King Popper


Jacks Fighting Crab (!)

The variations on these flies are endless, they come in all colors, shapes and sizes. The actual bugs look very realistic and are made with all kinds of specialty “parts”, wings, legs, hair, eyes, body fur, and so on. The names of these materials sound so exciting – krystal flash, holographic mylar, fluoro fiber, ice dub chenille, pearl mirage flashback tinsel, shimmer fringe, gliss ‘n glow!

What if you tried tying something similar using wire or a headpin instead of the hook? And why couldn’t you use any type of thread, as long as it’s thin enough? I want to try this technique to see if it could work for bead making.

Oftentimes one expects that beads used for jewelry making are made out of glass, acrylic (plastic), gemstones, clay or wood. You think of the “soft” materials less often, yarns, wool, fabric, paper and so on. Beads can be made out of yarn, wool can be used to make felt beads, fabric can be used in various ways, sometimes tied into beads with yarns or glued into shapes. The options are endless, and it offers so many opportunities for exploring!


Beads made out of yarn and into earrings


Felted wool balls

Fabric bead

Fabric bead

Wooden pendant


Revisited Inspirations

I wanted to look  back at my earlier posts and review some of the creative attempts I have done based on inspirations in my posts. Many of them I’m still working on, refining my methods and improving my skills.


Home made sanding station and wooden dowel I make beads from.

During the process I have taken over several of my husband’s power tools – sawsall, drill, dremel…It’s a satisfying feeling when you figure out you can actually use some “man tools” with no problem. The opportunities are endless and you can repurpose many tools to do things you don’t first think they were meant to do.

With “Wood Coins and Drill Holes” –  I am now making my wooden beads out of dowels, craft boards and other larger pieces of wood. I have made a sanding station using the drill which works really good (just don’t sand away your fingertips) You can quickly reshape pieces, big difference from the beginning when I was completely sanding by hand!


Finished beads imitating weathered wood look – cut from dowel, sanded and rag painted.

I think I’m doing much better with getting the surface even and have discovered which paints make the type of finish I’m looking for. I want to imitate a weathered wood type of surface, a rustic feel that makes you think of the shore, beach, sand and how the wind and water shapes the wood.

Digitata seaweed Maine

Digitata seaweed in Maine (Ogunquit Beach)


Seaweed scarf model with tentacles.


Copper shapes still in rough form. I patinated the left one, but I don’t really like the dark color.

I created several copper shapes based on my exploration with the “Seaweed Inspirations”.  I also started scarfs that imitate shapes of seaweed. I really like the idea of the freely hanging legs or tentacles like in the seaweed (that I think is called) Laminaria digitata (see picture).

I think the scarf body is too lightweight due to the yarn, but I want to  keep the idea of tentacles. The yarn I found has variations and nubbies that I work well to keep the shape interesting. I found some commonly made patterns of seaweed scarfs online, but I didn’t think they were really seaweed enough!

The yellow and green in “Unexpected Beach Art” gave me an idea to create these wild yellow earrings, round lemon yellow beads handing from purple chain with Swarovski crystals. I wanted some real lemon punch with the clusters, they sort of look like berries or candy grapes to eat!

Lemon yellow cluster earrings

Lemon yellow cluster earrings

This was a quick review on what I’ve made based on my earlier posts. I hope you like some of them, any comments are welcome!