Where does the spark of inspiration come from? Do you wake up in the middle of the night with a flash of sudden inspiration or do you need to slowly stoke the creative flame until it really gets burning? I have varied whims of inspiration, and I’m often known to become completely obsessed with a new inspiring idea until the next one comes along, and then I’m off chasing that one before even managing to finish the first….I definitely have more creative ideas and inspiration that I do follow through and dedication to see them all to fruition.
But without inspiration then what is the point? As an artist, I NEED to feel inspired about what I’m working on. I am not cut out to be a “production” weaver…..making piece after piece based just on what sells best and what is fastest and easiest to make. This is why each piece I make is completely unique and one of a kind. Each one comes from a spark of inspiration that I followed through to the end. That spark is sacred to my creative life.
When a new idea forms…..I usually carry it around in my heart/mind for days or weeks or months until slowly (or sometimes in a sudden “download” flash) clarity emerges of how exactly I’m going to translate my chosen inspiration of color or texture or pattern into the woven cloth. Then comes the phase of calculating, gathering the right yarns, figuring out all the logistical details of getting the right amount of yarn on the loom in the right way. And then, when the inspired vision is clear and the calculations are made, finally I get to handling the yarn.
I wind the warps myself, touching each and every strand of yarn in a rhythmic flow of counting and winding the warp chains. Then the yarn is hand threaded onto the loom one thread at a time. This part of the process is quite slow and tedious, and requires patience and focus in order to not make mistakes that can be time consuming to correct later. Finally after many hours of preparation, the actual weaving begins, and then and only then can I see the cloth unfold and see my inspiration turning into reality.
For example, for a long time I was sitting with how I wanted to interpret the Blue Morpho butterfly color scheme into woven cloth. I thought about it for months….letting various ideas steep in my mind both day and night. I watched Blue Morpho butterflies every chance I got (I actually see them quite often here in Costa Rica!) and would study the way the blue flashed in the light as they flew around. Then one day I happened to be in one of the most stunning locations in Costa Rica — standing at the TOP of the Nauyaca Waterfall looking out over the falls and over the jungle landscape below.
I suddenly noticed a blue morpho butterfly flying by the falls from below me. I could see its blue wings from an angle I had never really seen them from before. (the butterfly wings are blue on the top side and grey/brown on the bottom side, so usually when you see them you are seeing both colors alternating) In the sunlight with the waterspray glistening in the air, the blue flashed like a light blinking as the wings opened and closed. Absolutely magical! And then in a flash I had the exact idea of how to weave the cloth in honor of this beautiful creature. It was almost as if the butterfly itself gave me specific instructions. I went home that very day and started work on what has now become the Blue Morpho Vest. You can see the vest here.
While not all my ideas are directly “given” to me so clearly, I do always honor the sometimes illogical process of allowing the spark of creativity to work it’s magic and reveal itself to me in an organic way. I hope you can feel this spark in the work that I create!