Inspiration is all around us....

PART 1....

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.
 today I got a taste of what it feels like to create your own designs. It is certainly a feat to make something that works for others too.

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.....


Karen said…
I also came away inspired and with all the senses stimulated: to touch the fibers, to see the awesome and talented colorways, to speak to the professionals who truly love their calling, and to wander aimlessly among the creative....a wonderful experience all around!

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