Sunday, July 20, 2014

Growing an Idea

"To see is a trick of the mind but to believe is a trick of the heart."
 -Ronlyn Domingue from "The Chronicle of Secret Riven"

Maybe it's just me. . . .but I have to say that I never feel a sense of "completion" in my creative world. There is no "done" when it comes to an idea or a technique. I am always looking forward to the next iteration. To the sharpening of the skill set and the expanding of the inner mythology that allows each creation to come alive. 

I think that desire to re-imagine, recreate and reinvent is part of what makes being a maker-of-things a lifelong pursuit.

And I experience a connection in this to many who are able to make their living in a creative world. Because on the other side of that equation are the many who start an idea, perhaps a really GREAT idea. . . then make one or two of something, and then expect that they have done the work to be able to sell what they have made. When, at the heart of every creative soul who makes a living from their creativity, there is usually a deep, driving desire to carry their ideas to their greatest and fullest realization. Whether they sell them or not. . . In fact, to carry each little component or technique within those ideas to the same extent. 

Many people "see" ideas. . . but only a few, in my experience, believe in them enough to carry them out.

Don't misunderstand. I've left ideas behind. More than I can count.

I've moved on to new and more interesting ones too. Not everything is meant to be carried forward and invested in ( in life AND creativity!) and I certainly have my share of feeling like ideas have reached their logical conclusions. But those are few and far between.

I love stories and great stories, like ideas, in my world never really have an end.

So I wanted to just present this little "road map" of an idea for you to peruse

This is how an idea grows. . .

It began right after the New Year with one little tiny fairy house. I had been working for some time on finding an interesting idea I could develop and grow and, as is often the case, it turned out to be the idea tha was least hollering for attention in my mind that grew into something larger. lol

That first house/style just seemed to have a certain Alpine feel to it. A little square chalet style with wooden door, stone archway, mossy tiled roof and flowers.

This was not the original but likely the second or third iteration!
Tiny textured walls that allowed me to paint the individual "stones" in a plethora of color. I loved the very first one and I believe it sold in two days. So I made another.  . and another. . . and another. After selling a dozen or so of this one model, I decided it would be interesting to grow the idea and it's story a bit. So I wrote a little piece about Alpine Fairies and thought I should christen the cottage after one of the Alpine peaks. . . a quick search led me to the revelation that there are literally hundreds of peaks ithat make up the Alps. (I'd been there twice but somehow forgotten the scope of the Alpine range!) And that each peak does indeed have it's own name. This one above became the "Monte Rosa" Well, that got the creative brain going and what has come of it is an endless and ever-growing series/story/paracosm all unto itself.

The story grew. . . (each mountain band of fairies had their own distinct fairy cottage style) the house names I liked are so numerous I can't imagine how long it might take for me to create a distinct style for each. . . Matterhorn, Hochwilde, Mont Pelvoux, Lagginhorn. . . sometimes the name suggests the style. . . sometimes it works the other way around.

While I am still working in the "stone cottage" style, I do have a desire to move this series forward into making some half timbered minis too! When that occurs, the story will get re-imagined and grow yet again.

Then came the desire to photograph these little cottages in a unique style so that, when people saw them in the shop, they would instantly recognize them as being a series. A background was found among my pictures of the time I spent in that region and I created a long-overdue photo fairy garden in the studio to shoot them in too.

The new, very- incomplete, fairy house photo garden!

At this point, there are 10 individual styles in the Alpine Fairy House series and it grows each week.

I can barely keep them in stock these days which, if you know me, is sometimes very frustrating as I love to have them around as much as my clientele does! But that ensures I will kep the production of them going and each time I remake one, I try to work on a new model or idea as well. :)

Below is the first group shot I took of the houses in this series. There are already four new styles being completed as I write. So this group image will grow and change as time goes on too.

8 of the Alpine Fairy House Series

But the thing I want to say here is that this idea also fit so well into all the areas I love most about creating. There is the challenge of keeping it ever-evolving and fresh and not being able to see an end in sight. The expanding story that allows me to grow the idea slowly and create the mythology as it comes to me. The time needed to "research", which is, in effect, me happily spending hours pouring over images of quaint Alpine villages and settings! And last, the constant honing of certain techniques that, I believe, make these little cottages so magical.

And most of all, these allow me to create yet another world to inhabit within myself. The story unfolds the deeper I go and the more I allow it to become a part of my day to day life.  

If there is an end in sight, I can't fathom it.

And that wide open road ahead is, to me, the epitome of what real-world magic is all about.
It's not a trick at all.
It's alive
And it is completely invested in the heart of it's creator.
So take care of it just the same. . .

See you all in Alpine fairy land!



  1. inspiring story, I love your fairy house expansion! are some located in austria too? (I was born at the foot of the "Grossglockner"!)

    1. Thank you Viktoria! As I am working my way down the list from tallest peaks I DID come across the Grossglockner! After reading your comment, I spent a bit of time this morning reading about it's location and history and I am inspired! A double peak with one shorter and one taller. . . .I imagine a double pointed-top square tower in just such a shape and I plan to begin on it later this week. Thank you for the inspiration! I read it is the highest point in Austria's range of Alps! How inspiring they all are. . . and to live in the shadow of such beauty. . . "sigh". . .

  2. You're such a wonderful creative being Nicolas, I always linger over your posts and return to them often, and so often is it that I hear my own thoughts and processes echo in your words. This is a humbling thing for sometimes in this art making world I fear I'm born of madness. It seems I'm not. It's a beautiful world to live in. Your work extends to so many arenas... and it never ceases to inspire. Thank you for sharing it! You too, transport me to another time and place with these amazing creations!

    1. Once in a very great while I fear that I may have created this world at too great a cost. . but it's a fear that always passes in a moment or two. lol The world of my creation, at the expense of almost everything so many others hold dear and deem necessary, is still the only world I wish to dwell in. And the reflection I find in the creative magic of others, as yourself, is what allows me to sink ever-deeper without fear of losing my way. :) Thank you for coming by Louise and thank you for creating such beauty and magic too. :