Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Recording inspiration

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend a talk given by a local textile artist, Ailish Henderson. Ailish brought along examples of her amazing work and talked about where her inspiration comes from, which was fascinating.

Ailish's background was in fine arts before becoming immersed in the world of textiles and it certainly shows both in her work and in the way she records the things that inspire her work.

Having dabbled in free-form machine embroidery I was particularly taken by the results of Ailish's exercise to "stitch her sketch without lifting the needle".

Oh to be able to produce something as lovely as the couple under the umbrella!

To the right of the wacky and wonderful Alice-in-Wonderland themed textile birthday cake, (how much fun must that have been to make!) you can just see one of Ailish's sketchbooks. These were the most fascinating part of the afternoon for me. Sketchbook really doesn't do them justice, they were works of art in their own right, and a world away from what I had previously thought of as a sketchbook.

The pages above were crammed with sketches, bits of fabric, lace, beads, lines of poetry and other text. They were a wonderful insight into the development of a project and the host of inspirations that informed the final outcome.

Having almost no drawing ability myself, I generally rely on photos when I am looking for inspiration, which is undoubtedly why I am still ploughing through the hundreds of photos that I took on the Silk Route trip :) I have never, though, considered keeping such a detailed record of the thought process of a project but came away thinking that maybe I should give it a go.

Do you record the inspiration for your projects and if you do, how do you do it? I would love to know.


  1. i do not have much drawing talent but do have a notebook where i try to sketch projects i want to do or at least write them out. i consider Pinterest a bit of my sketchbook too. Looks like it was a fun class!!!!

  2. I scribble notes, that are almost illegible, but more the final steps, not the process that got me there. What a great talk to attend. She is one talented lady.

  3. Those sketchbooks are just amazing! I am genuinely envious of anyone who can keep an organised sketchbook. I'm terrible at recording things. I usually sketch something roughly on the back of an envelope as a starting point or cut a template from a cereal box and then improvise and evolve things as I go and, if I want to repeat something after a time, I've lost all the pieces or forgotten the changes I made. This lady is an inspiration :)

  4. I have lots of scraps of papers and things floating around all over the place with notes and ideas. Sometimes they get thrown out, other times I get myself organised enough to put all of the information for one project together in an envelope-style folder. Mostly they are still floating. I have tried sketch books - we had to use them in high school - but I think I am just too unorganised. I might try and try again, because there does seem to be something to it.

    I hope you share some of your future sketch book with us.

  5. I keep telling myself I should keep a journal, but I haven't started one yet. I too, don't think of myself as a drawing person. But I suppose I could describe my visions in words and put little clippings of photos, etc.

  6. I am not an organised inspiration gatherer - I either have to remember, or occasionally I note something (usually incomprehensible) on a post it and stick it on the relevant fabric...

    The talk looks fun :o)

  7. That's super cool. I love getting inside peeks into people scrap books and see where they draw inspiration! I keep all my thoughts and ideas in a simple sketch book.

  8. Every so often I buy a perfect notebook and use it as an inspiration journal, or a diary, or something exciting, then forget! I try now to at least reach for a notebook to sketch out a thought or measurements, rather than a scrapif paper! That's the best I've managed


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