I've just come home from two of the most inspirational days I've had in years. I was at Vogue Knitting Live. I feel like I've had a massage and listened to Mozart for two days on a quiet beach instead of the truth: fighting some 5,000 yarn-crazed women (and about half a dozen men - they stand out) in a busy Midtown hotel to touch intricate knitwear.
Yesterday was fabulous. KK and I spent the day together touching hundreds of balls of yarn in all kinds of fibers in every color imaginable. Had we not had a nice lunch and some down time (spent knitting, and watching fashion shows - it was, after all, Vogue knitting) I would have collapsed from sensory overload. KK hangs with local knitters who apparently have unlimited funds so she learns by osmosis and gave me a taste for Tahki and other gems. Like me, she is a woman on a budget. I bought one skein of yarn yesterday and today I bought another skein plus a a book that I had signed by the author today. Not bad, considering I stood surrounded by temptation to spend.
Although I missed having KK with me, today's agenda inspired me inside and out.
I started with a three hour design class with Fiona Ellis. (My friend Pam had introduced me to her work last year when she interviewed her and did a book review last year). Most of my extended family are artistic and creative. I've never called myself an artist (AND I CERTAINLY DON'T QUALIFY AFTER WHAT I'M POSTING TODAY) but...
|Picture is on the left, my swatch on rt. Not quitting my day job to design yet.|
I picked the image with the eggs (at the left) as the basis for my inspiration because eggs represent the beginning of life. I liked the softness of their visual image combined with their tactile contrast (which often happens in yarn - you touch something you expect to be soft, but instead it's rough surface surprises your fingers, or the opposite can happen, tricking the senses). Eggs are natural, and I like things made by nature (albeit collected by man). I liked the subliminal feminist message: eggs represent the basis of women's powers, and like women the image shows their curves and roundness, creating life itself. At a quick glance, eggs appear monochromatic, but really (like yarn) they have hidden changes in color, as in variegated yarn.
After focusing on a portion of the image, from a design perspective the carton became more interesting than the eggs (more obvious with the picture in hand). Finally, eggs' represent feminine imagery - imperfect curves, hard exteriors and soft interiors and vary in their form, hue with visible imperfections. As I tried to translate these thoughts to graph paper, and eventually to my knit swatch, I found the negative shape of the carton took presidence over their circular geometrical pattern. Ms. Ellis suggested that I could vary the shapes of the eggs, or even spread them over a wider space. Although it is hard to see in the picture here, I also experimented with the swatch by removing the eggs' color entirely and used patterns (knitting the eggs on a pearled background) to emulate them. The whole experiment would have gone better if in my haste I hadn't grabbed the wrong needles. Next time I try this experiment I hope I will be less literal. Kate (another student) was a much more creative swatcher. Clearly she will go far in her newly established career as a knitwear designer - even Ms. Ellis loved her creative eye. Kate and I had a nice lunch together and I hope we will stay in touch.
Fiona Ellis' class emphasized the importance of powering down. No computer, no cell phone. A simple but vital lesson.
I see why my relatives basque in their creativity and have chosen careers in creative fields: visual, musical or even the written word. This morning's class reminded me that with the proper inspiration, and time, I too can create something meaningful (for me). My first try may have resulted in dull, unimpressive ovals with in a drab background, but to me, this swatch is like the women in my life: full of texture, color and the unexpected.
Tomorrow: Part II. It's time to power down and be inspired by Downton Abbey. I'm sure that there's inspiration in their costumes, the scandal and (for me, at least) their language. I wonder if Fiona Ellis may be turning to PBS (or the CBC in Canada) for design-inspiration too.....