Alex bought a new computer, just as Paul did a couple of years ago, to put together himself over the summer holidays. That meant he needed a larger desk and Alex decided he rather liked mine...Long story short, I've been without a desk and chair - and my laptop! - for a few weeks while he got sorted. Inspiration had dried up so that wasn't a big deal. However, I thought I might as well replace my desk with a longer one, get rid of the little 'overflow' desk I had (bit of an eyesore) and this led to (what I thought would be) a 'bit' of re-arranging in my room. Well, one thing lead to another and I've practically re-arranged the whole house! The bomb shelter has never looked so tidy! The extra length of the desk allows me to keep the sewing machine on it without having to clear everything else off. Funnily enough, it was putting the machine on it that got the creative juices going again but I'm not going to analyse that too much. Here's how it looks -
and here is how the old desk looked (below) when I took a photo of it in Kuwait. No space for sewing and drawing - it was one or the other.
These are the fabrics on my desk at the moment.
I've been mulling over 'inspiration' and why it ebbs and flows and although I think it's a natural process and best not forced or worried about, I do think colour may be the key for me to unblocking it. At the same time as I was looking at the painter's colour swatches (of the last post) I had put another bookcase in my room (unearthed in another part of the house I had tidied!) and that meant I had space to put my jars of beads out where I could see them. I love looking at those beads so even if I never use them, I feel I've got value for money out of them!
When I'm thinking of making a quilt, I pull a whole load of fabrics onto the floor and throw them around to see how they look in different groupings. It triggers the brain to go through a visualisation process sorting through combinations of colours and patterns. I have two colourways that I keep going back to - the warm, intense autumnals, with colours like purple, green, gold, russet and chocolate brown - and the bright, clear colours in the fabrics above - usually purple, pink, orange, red, blue, green- a combination of warm and cool. With fabrics the process is pretty simple: the prints and colours are the triggers. Occasionally a pattern will inspire me to find the fabrics and colours I prefer to the one shown. In Kuwait, a few years ago, I bought a scrapbook for images that inspire me and I came across it again when I was sorting out my bookshelves. The strange thing is, even though it's supposed to be for inspiration, I realised it hasn't directly inspired me to do anything at all! Does that mean it has failed? I'm not sure but I thought I'd make more of an effort to fill it because I think it will reveal interesting patterns. This is one of my favourite pages and there are those autumnal colours again -
I love spirals and again, those warm colours but this time more subdued.
I realised with this spread, below, I have a tendency to go for warm combinations but with cool accents.
They say artists see the world from different viewpoints like vast panoramic landscapes, middle distance or close up and I'm definitely the latter.
Gorgeous beads, gorgeous colour combinations. The wires could be lines with a pen.
I try to keep similar things together. The page on the right, below, has small illustrations that look like watercolour. The style is quite precise, very confident. Most of these are from Good Housekeeping magazine and the illustrations around Maureen Lipman's column were done, I think, by Michael Frith who now works for The Sunday Times. I have a couple of his portraits cut out and kept in my scrapbook too, he's one of my favourite artists. More portraits here. (The likenesses are perfect but the style is loose which, I think, is a really wonderful combination.)
One of the features of Flickr that I find really fascinating is the ability to save images to a favourites page. (Here is one of my pages.) I tend not to look at those that have thousands of favourite images (they may not be very discerning) but in general a look at these pages is a clear indication of someone's style. Adding an image they really like, every now and then, a pattern emerges maybe without them being aware of it. From my pages I see another combination I love and that is black and white in combination with bright, strong colours. From that, I suspect, some time in the future I will eventually get to working with pen and ink and hopefully watercolour. Humour too is apparent in my Flickr pages and my scrapbook but not so much in my own work. So even though the scrapbook hasn't directly inspired me to create anything, recognising patterns and our own individual 'creative building blocks' might be enough to get started again. I know from experience too that just doing some little thing, anything at all, is enough to get the ball rolling. And, of course, on the positive side, you could forget about it altogether and get on with all the jobs you've been putting off for months and clear and tidy the decks ready for when inspiration strikes in it's own sweet time!