Soaking Up Some Colour

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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!

I am an artist & purveyor of obsessive projects based in Hebden Bridge, England. My work involves the accretion of large numbers of small objects - pins in fabric, knots in string or hundreds of envelopes - to make sculptures that deal with fragility, loss, repetition, obsession and time.

10 thoughts on “Soaking Up Some Colour

  1. ahhhhh inspiration moments….

    give me the almost rain smell in the air
    the fogginess of impending winter
    and a book store…….
    with aisles………
    and wall space
    with spots just large enough
    to wedge myself in
    and a pile of books
    with lots of photos
    and inspired i will be…………….

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  2. ahhhhh inspiration moments….

    give me the almost rain smell in the air
    the fogginess of impending winter
    and a book store…….
    with aisles………
    and wall space
    with spots just large enough
    to wedge myself in
    and a pile of books
    with lots of photos
    and inspired i will be…………….

    [Reply]

  3. I once owned a yarn store and even though I was there everyday and it was my source of income, it was also an endless source of inspiration. I can understand the “need.” ;-)

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  4. I once owned a yarn store and even though I was there everyday and it was my source of income, it was also an endless source of inspiration. I can understand the “need.” ;-)

    [Reply]

  5. oh yes, rows and shelves of colours, like the joy of piles of new stationery except SOFT! when i can’t get out and about i give myself a similar pleasure sorting buttons and threads into types and colours. sad, but happily true. glad you got out and bagged some goodies to stimulate your creative juices.

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  6. oh yes, rows and shelves of colours, like the joy of piles of new stationery except SOFT! when i can’t get out and about i give myself a similar pleasure sorting buttons and threads into types and colours. sad, but happily true. glad you got out and bagged some goodies to stimulate your creative juices.

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  7. And while I’m in that book store you described, I’ll find the artist journals, the kind with the blank pages and the soft leather covers…it’s very important that they feel right, or I can’t draw or write in them, like the smoosh quality of the yarn and the color.

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  8. And while I’m in that book store you described, I’ll find the artist journals, the kind with the blank pages and the soft leather covers…it’s very important that they feel right, or I can’t draw or write in them, like the smoosh quality of the yarn and the color.

    [Reply]

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