An unexpected message arrived this morning. It was from a customer of one of my Etsy shops and included a link to an item that has been made using some of my hand-dyed paper.
Not only was I very pleased to see the lovely item (click the picture to find it) I was also interested to read the description. I quote: ‘when it arrived I knew it was perfect for my ‘Winter Beauty’ aceo (truth is I was stuck for inspiration until then)’
I know this feeling so well. Inspiration strikes in strange ways. Sometimes the finished item is there, in you head, and all you have to do is grab the bits and pieces to put it together. Sometimes a blank canvas is all that’s needed to allow colour and design to flow into a work of art. Sometimes… yes, sometimes there is just nothing there…..
Suddenly, however, ‘something’ happens, it could be a thought, a word, a chance comment, maybe even a headline – or just THAT particular piece of paper or fabric. Suddenly everything comes together and the piece is finished. I had a similar experience recently.
Pencil and paper are always to hand, and I try to sketch every day. I don’t manage that exactly, but I do try. On my table is a pot which holds some ancient seedheads. They are well past their ‘sell buy’ date, and I suppose I should dispose of them, but they have been a constant source of inspiration.
They are not beautifully arranged, in fact some of them have been removed and just ‘poked’ back in, but that is good – it gives me permission to remove something else and draw it, then replace it wherever it goes. I never need to search for something to draw – it is always there. I don’t get bored with the subject because they almost feel like friends, and who gets bored with friends? I have masses of drawings of the poppy heads. I have added colour to some, but others are detailed drawings or quick sketches, some in pencil and others in ink. Some in books, some on scraps of paper stuck or clipped into books, and others on pieces of abaca tissue which are patiently waiting for their next destination.
There are roses too. Small flowers that started life as a gift from a newborn grandchild. These have not been professionally preserved – just hung upside down in the airing cupboard and left to dry out. I have watched them turn from pink to this beautiful caramel colour. Who says that decay can’t be beautiful?
This teasel came from the garden of my late mother-in-law. She died more than 10 years ago, and this was picked before that. There are a few in the pot, and they are a constant reminder of family and how things must pass. Don’t put off something that you can do today – you may not be able to do it tomorrow. Our children would love to play in her garden, full of cottage flowers and very old-fashioned. It was a delight.
What strikes me most about this collection is the wonderful colour and texture that it holds. Even the colour of the leaves has turned to this beautiful dark cream. No enhancement at all, nature has done its work and continues to do so. But where is this leading?
Every day I work with brilliant and exciting colour. Fabrics, fibres, yarns, threads, paper, all are transformed into new colour combinations, but at the end of the day I return to my desk and the quiet calm of neutrality. There in front of me is my pot, and my sketches continue to overflow! Last week was no different, I had papers to make and colour, and lo and behold, one really spoke to me. It was, of course, created by accident! The finished design was unintentional, but as soon as I saw it I wanted to use it with some of my sketches.
The background ‘spoke’ to me of winter and bare branches. I was able to do a small series of 4 tiny ACEO’s, but that’s it – no more paper, so the other sketches must wait for more inspiration. Thanks for sending me the link to your lovely ACEO, SunshineShelle, it provoked this post!
Sometimes it is good to have a large piece of art on your wall, but sometimes, it is perfect to have a piece of art you can hold in your hand.