I stumbled on an archived post on Automatism of some pictures of jewelry designer Ted Muehling‘s New York City apartment. Blogger Lori had reprinted an article on Muehling’s apartment that she’d saved for years, from Maison Francaise in the late 1990’s. The place looks as appealing today as it did then (THAT’S style). In response, a woman named Joanna wrote “SO beautiful. i’m downloading these for the inspiration journal… xo”.

The Inspiration Journal. It reminded me of folders I’ve often kept of clippings from magazines: of spaces I liked, or ideas I wanted to pursue. Seeing pictures can help you bring to life your own ideas, as you take the gist, or a kernel, or a detail and run with it. Nowadays, it can be done digitally of course, and kept on a computer or printed out. An Inspiration Journal is a much better way of framing things than a “bookmark”.

There’s great software available that allows you to organize ideas in the different formats you find them in – web pages, pdf’s, jpegs, text – all together. My favorite is DevonThink, which allows you to view live archived webpages from within a folder, or color-correct a jpeg.

Lori’s Muehling post has given me much for an Inspiration Journal for my apartment…

…a spare curtain to separate the bedroom


a utilitarian kitchen with shelves full of found things and art:


and his beautiful, utterly simple bookshelves (a separate post to come on those, soon)…with a folding wooden step stool for reaching high.

For more on Muehling’s jewelry and work space, check out Ted Muehling: A Portrait by Don Freeman

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2 replies on “ted muehling and the inspiration journal

  1. For years I have kept several “inspirational journals” – one for my garden, one for my house, one for my summer cabin in Minnesota (all of which are ongoing projects). I keep a visual journal for art and design inspiration, another for wardrobe inspiration (as sometimes I’ll attempt to make a skirt I’ve seen or ask a tailor to do the same). I even have a journal devoted to all things black and white. My journals are exactly the same format – the oversized, generic, black, spiral bound versions you can purchase in any art supply store. I buy the ones with the heavy paper stock as they accommodate lots of taped on/stapled on/glued on “stuff.” Compiling these journals is cathartic for me. It is not unlike scrapbooking in that way. Both document the life and/or interests of the maker and are an outlet for creative expression. Which reminds me why I wanted to comment on your post in the first place. Take a look at my friend Jessica Helfand’s recent book titled “Scrapbooks: An American History.” It is a lovely book on many levels and you may find the examples compelling proof that “inspirational journals” have a long history.

  2. Boy, Pamela, would I love to see your visual journals! Your mention of
    Jessica Helfand’sScrapbooks: An American History has pointed the way to many possibilities, and inspired me to write a post (soon).
    Thanks Pamela!

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