I have been traveling since I was a child. An infant, even. My mother is from Germany, my father from California. With multiple step parents over the years, we always had family to visit and vacations to take. My father's preferred mode of transportation was by road trip--we spent many hours traversing the West via highways (and spent many hours listening to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant"). I, personally, love airports and flying. (I am one of the only people I know who will happily pick people up at the gate--how sweet is it to see all those people reunited!)
From an early age, I was fascinated with other cultures and places. We were surrounded by encyclopedias and National Geographic, and my hunger for knowledge knew very few boundaries.
When I was young, my oldest step sister travelled to Australia for some modeling. I think it was then that I decided I wanted to go there too someday. I learned that my namesake, Catherine Cummerford, had been born in Australia, which just amplified the desire to go. Being the Taurus that I am, I became determined during high school that after I graduated, I would take a year off before college and visit this mysterious country. To keep a long story short, I ended up not only visiting Australia, but moving there for university (side note: If you are considering this, do it through a travel abroad program, or your credits won't count for much in the US). I spent almost 4 years there. It was a challenging, incredible journey.
Being immersed in another culture ignited something within me--this joy that I feel when I travel and am in a new place. It's about the challenge, the discovery, the culture. Last September, I had the opportunity to travel to Italy for two weeks with my sister and stepmom. It was incredible. I can still smell the air there and feel the warm breeze of the south coast. I can step back in my mind and re-live the awe of walking past and through the Colosseum, or the dry heat of Pompeii. In April, I was invited again to travel with these two women, and went to North Carolina--another new place. Although I was in the same country, there is no disputing that the culture of Oregon is very different from North Carolina's, and I love those differences. Challenge, discovery, culture.
Whether it is obvious or not, each of these experiences can inform our creativity. Perhaps a color or pattern pops out at me, like the mosaics seen in the plaza at Positano, or the colors of the beach houses in Oak Island. Not only that, but my use of certain materials is shifting to more found items--I now have a collection of objects found on the beaches in both of these places that will eventually make their way into my jewelry.
What is it that sparks your creativity?