The theme for this month’s page swap is Inspiration, and as usual, I have thought long and hard about how I would interpret this nebulous concept into textiles. What inspires one is an individual thing, – it may be fleeting, sudden, blinding or change the way one lives. There are many sources which may spark ideas, music and images may inspire, there are those who are considered to be inspirational people, and of course, nature is all around and is inspirational in itself.
It would be wonderful if inspiration occurred like a blinding light, but for me it is much more likely to the result of a hard slog, trial and error. When working on a particular theme, I tend first to look at definitions of the term, and then seek quotations that may help to understand it more, as do images, illustrations or written text. Next I might jot down ideas, colours and sketches, and work these further until a more definite picture emerges. Having done all that, the original idea may then be rejected, and I might do something totally different, but it is the earlier research that ultimately generates the final result.
As the American composer Aaron Copeland said, “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start anything. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” My piece is homage to one of my favourite sources of inspiration – books. I have a large collection which reflects my various interests including needlework and gardens, and while I often look for ideas in books, I rarely follow patterns or designs, preferring to use them as a reference to techniques, colours and materials, and as a jumping off point for doing my own thing. The page for Jan in New Zealand is worked on painted silk noil, the books are embroidered in stem and back stitch, additional colour added with Shiva paint sticks, and the background covered with seed stitches, also in hand dyed silk threads. I hope she likes it.