June 18, 2009

Talking About My Inspiration With...Maggie Morgan

Today, I’m excited to let Maggie Morgan talk about inspiration. She likens it to the concept of muses, both ancient and modern, and it’s one of the most original descriptions I’ve heard (and not just in working with this blog). The answer took me by surprise, yet it is so, so true, don’t you think?

From muses to magazines and catalogs to design blogs, Maggie has fantastic ideas on finding and storing inspiration. My favorite is the glimpse at her impressive notebooks stuffed full of tearsheets (but super organized, by the way) just waiting to inspire a new outfit, a table setting or a blog post.

And what fun it is to see how all this gathering and sorting translates into her blog. Maggie covers it all on magchunk – fashion, art, design, entertaining – you name it, she’s probably written about it in her straightforward style that is genuine, humorous and, well, inspiring. mmmmm….just like her answers here.

Thank you, Maggie!

Quick, without thinking, what does inspiration mean to you?
I immediately think of the Nine Muses from ancient mythology. I think the idea of the modern muse is so dreamy too. Marc Jacobs calls Sophia Coppola his muse, and I love the idea of having one person serve as the embodiment of your imagination. It's so old-fashioned and romantic.

Is there one task that always requires some inspiration to help you accomplish?
I think shopping for clothing takes inspiration. It would be so easy to get stuck in a jeans and tee shirt mode, or just buy what's "safe." That's why I love fashion magazines. I start thinking about how I could use those shorts I already have, what would make them look new, or what shoes have I been wanting to wear that I don't, and flipping through the latest trends always helps me breathe new life into what I already own.

I don't know that I could come up with some looks without someone like Rachel Bilson or Camille Belle experimenting first. I can't copy them since we have totally (and completely!) different body types, but I can see how loose layers look, or tunics with shorts, or dresses with ankle boots... and that opens up a whole new window of imagination for me. I see the racks with new eyes!

When you’re in a creative rut, where is the first place you go/look to be inspired?
When I get stuck for ideas for magchunk, I can always count on my own apartment to be a great source of inspiration. What item or system is missing here that would make my space more enjoyable? What art or display have I created that I think others would be interested in doing? Since my home is a work in progress, it provides a wealth of ideas, even if the ending post doesn't feature my apartment at all (dream kitchens, for example, because of my lack of such).

I am obsessed with inspiration boards. Do you keep anything like this (board, journal, etc.) to help you catalog bits of inspiration?
I don't keep a board, but I do keep two huge and overflowing binders (NOTE: pictures attached!): one for home decor and one for fashion/hair/makeup. I've been tearing pages out of magazines and printing photos from online since junior high. In fact, some of my fashion tear sheets are from the teen magazines I read back in the late-nineties and I still love them! The interior ones are newer, although if I got my paws on my mom's stash of Metropolitan Home that I used to read over and over, they would probably fatten up the decor binder quite a bit.

While these notebooks aren't hanging in front of me day in and day out like a bulletin board or something would, I love pulling them out for an evening and flipping through the pages, rearranging, adding new and pulling out old. It's at once soothing and invigorating. I keep the pages in clear sheet protectors. The fashion binder is VERY loosely organized by mood or type (office, dressy, etc), sometimes by person (Natalie Portman). The decor binder is officially categorized by type of room, with full homes (like Jenna Lyons' from domino) in the back.

What are your top 5 sources of inspiration?
  • My collection of Vogue magazines (late 2001 through 2008).
Maggie's Vogue magazine collection
  • A Cup of Jo for beautiful images and to find new fun blogs.
  • Desire to Inspire for new-to-me photographers and designers. The first design blog I ever read.
  • Catalogs: I love flipping through beautifully styled catalogs like Anthropologie or West Elm. I love to see the objects they pair with their products (vintage phones!) or the cheap art they come up with (driftwood above the fireplace).
  • Etsy. I love browsing around by region or poking around the forums. I always find something new. The creativity is contagious!


paula said...

love the collection of magazines. I have an obscene amount too.

Jackie said...

Great interview with Maggie! She is one of my favorite bloggers. And WOW I can't believe how many Vogue's you have Maggie! Love the table you have them stored on.

Magchunk said...


The table is from The Company Store and I got it for about $100 on uberclearance. The "four" drawers are actually one big drawer and are perfect for storing my stock of tealight candles, votive holders, and random stuff like those huge bed bath and beyond coupons that don't fit anywhere else!