Cork and Circumstance

inspiration board

Somewhere along the line of blogging and pinning and Tweeting and ‘gramming and all of those other social media apps (that, funnily enough, make me decidedly less social), I lost track of my first love: the inspiration board. The tangible, visual one – the cork board my mother gave me as a third grader to tack ribbons and newspaper clippings and homework assignments to. It’s the same one that I would someday tack gum wrappers and concert tickets and love letters to – the one that, now, as an adult, I tack dentist appointment reminders and to do lists and coupons to. And I look at it every now and then – past the business cards and handwritten grocery lists – and I study the many holes left from thumbtacks. How many times had I reinvented myself on that cork board? How many life stages has it carried me through, visually mapping my memories and thoughts and feelings?

Online inspiration boards are beautiful and accessible and attainable and great for the environment and all things good and holy, yes. But sometimes, I miss the weight of my cork board. The sound of a thumbtack’s prick, the texture of loose papers and receipts and reminders. The passive reminder of visual inspiration as I play with my daughter or dine with my husband – the idea that tangible inspiration and real life can exist as one.

And I suppose that’s why I need the physical inspiration board, too. It’s not about the hoarding of paper and tearing of magazine clippings. It’s the reality of it all. The undeniable belief that (maybe, just maybe) because my cork board is tangible, perhaps my dreams are, as well.

Image Credit: Erin Loechner

Just for fun: Two rad inspiration boards here and here.

  • I am with ya girl… I love my pinterest & computer files full of inspiration… but there is something so appealing to me about taking a push pin and putting a goal or pretty color or fabric swatch up on my cork board. It feels more “real” and more in my reach. I agree with you 100%!

  • As I sit and write this comment, I have two corkboards on the wall above my computer. They are filled with quotes and images and name tags and my daughter’s artwork. I’ve strung some twine across and clip small pictures with miniature wooden clothespins. And I’ve printed out some quotes that I need to see every day for inspiration.

    I also have an online collage of tearsheets for photographic inspiration. It’s great to look at – I need to see what I aspire to be able to do. But like you note, there is something almost magical in making it physically.

  • I couldn’t agree more – it’s perfect collision of “things i’ve done” and “things I would like to/still need to do” and it’s kind of lovely that both of those worlds can live in one space…

  • I think it’s riskier, too, to make it real. To invest the time and pins and space in something you can’t just x out of or delete, it says “Ok world, here’s what is important to me. Here’s what I want.” And that can be very scary.

    We made inspiration boards on New Year’s Day and I hung them up in our kitchen, the first room you come into when you enter our house. I admit there have been times when new friends, neighbors, or casual acquaintances have come by and I’ve winced realizing just how much of us we were sharing with those oh-so-visual boards.

    • @Miss Britt – Oh, you are SO right. And I love the idea of a kitchen inspiration board to hold yourself somewhat accountable. ;)

  • Absolutely! I am a huge fan of Pinterest and all the other ways to curate content online, but when we moved recently I got a big cork board for above my desk so i could save bits and pieces. There’s something indescribable about physically pinning things up. It’s like handwriting to-do lists, and reading an actual book instead of a Kindle ;) It seems to “stick” more.

  • I set up a duo of corkboards above my desk at work two weeks ago. I think it’s important to surround myself with visual inspiration. It not only informs my aesthetic, but keeps me focused on my goals, reminds me of the kinds of standards I want to achieve, and inspires my planning. Pinterst is great, but it’s not something I see every day unless I go specifically to the website and peruse the pins. The corkboards are tangible and always there when I arrive to my office in the morning.

    • @Jacqueline: Exactly – there’s something lovely about passively seeing those images, rather than actively logging into the space that they exist. I love this!

  • Yes! I definitely need an inspiration board that I can see and feel. Pinterest is great but there is nothing like having the real thing in front of you. Thanks so very much for this post!

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