So where do ideas come from?
For the English Majors: From whence come ideas?
Some people start with a purchased set of plans which spell out everything - all the necessary dimensions and joining details as well as a materials list and sometimes a parts cutting layout diagram.
Some see a piece or a picture of a piece and reverse engineer it to its component parts, taking measurements off the original if possible or guestimating them later.
Heres a very funny example of this approach to things. Thanks Walt!
Some people focus on the form and the function, the material playing a secondary role, if considered at all.
Some people start with the wood and develop the function and form that can be built with the selected wood (click here for an example)
Then there are those that meld the form, function and material. Most woodworkers probably go the "form/function then the materials" route. James Krenov and George Nakashima perfected the wood first approach while Sam Maloof blends all three but seems to emphasizes the form and function. (check the Links on my main menu - the Kimono Cabinet image - for links to sites about these three master woodworkers)
Some find a particular style of furniture appealing and design/make pieces in that style using the style's woods, joinery and finishes. (add examples of some popular styles - mission, arts & crafts, tansu, danish modern ...with links)
But inspirations don't necessarily have to be furniture or even furniture related. They just need to be something that gets your imagination fired up and the wheels going. Here's an example that got my mind fired up.
We're surrounded by inspirations - we just have to pay attention