I spent some time in my local yarn store today. Sure, I needed yarn for my next couple of projects but much more than that, I needed an hour to soak up some colour and texture. I could have ordered the yarn from the shop’s website and saved myself a trip in appalling traffic but I knew that I needed to go: something in me was craving that experience. I wanted to wander around, picking up the yarns and squashing the skeins in my fingers. I needed to feel the softness, the springiness and the resistance of the different fibres. But most of all, I needed to marvel at the myriad of colours. I needed to see the ways in which different dyers had married shades together, to notice how some tones zinged and jumped, while others were muted and subtle. I spent some time holding balls of yarn next to each other, testing to see which would go well together and which were jarring or unpleasant. I didn’t have a particular project in mind, I just wanted to see what worked and what didn’t. You can learn a lot this way – maybe art teachers should stop bothering with boring old colour wheels and just take their students to a fantastic yarn store instead!
I’ve never been brilliant at colour, I don’t have the instinct for it that some artists do, but I still occasionally need a bit of colour therapy. Sometimes my muse (for want of a better word) craves time spent in art galleries, libraries, parks or beautiful buildings – and sometimes it just needs to smoosh some yarn!
I left with the yarn I’d planned to buy and only one extra thing (a bargain skein of very beautiful sock yarn) but more importantly, with my heart contented and my inspiration levels rising.
We all need to spend some time inspiring ourselves, otherwise our art will eventually run dry. What have you done to inspire yourself lately? Do you take yourself out on regular ‘artists’ dates’, as Julia Cameron recommends? I often forget and only realise that I need to once it becomes a desperate craving. If you’re in the same boat, then I hope you can take some time over the next few days or weeks to recharge those artistic batteries by doing something that’s just for you. It’s especially important to do this if you’re caught up in the seasonal madness. It doesn’t need to be much and it doesn’t need to take long but I think it’s vital to remind ourselves that our art is every bit as important as buying presents, baking cookies, decorating trees, placating relatives and all the other traditions that we may have encumbered ourselves with.
And if you don’t celebrate anything at this time of year, then maybe you can indulge in your own personal art hibernation while all around are drowning in festivities? Get a pile of good art books from the library, stock up on some exciting new materials, shut the door and spend a few days just losing yourself in play. Mmm, sounds good to me!