Friday, 26 August 2011

lace inspiration

Lace parasol  - created by Lenta

I've been browsing a lot online this week and keep getting drawn to the gorgeous lace designs that are out out there right now. So I thought I'd share a few inspiring projects with you that have taken my fancy. First, this beautiful parasol on Ravelry - I love how it uses such a simple motif to achieve such complexity in the overall design. And, of course, it makes me want to try and deconstruct the pattern so I can gauge the tension and construction elements to create a new design of my own.

You may remember I attempted something like this not so long ago and after several attempts of working out the tension for the filet, clusters and shell sts, it got abandoned and now sits languishing in a corner. But now I'm fired up again and ready to have some hooky fun. I think I should have used the proper crochet cotton  as the sock yarn gave it a fuzzy look, not crisp and clean like I wanted so I'll have to rummage and see what I have to get started. Anyway, it will probably take me a little while to work out the pattern construction, which gives me plenty of time to get some cotton and do a bit of creative dyeing too. Yay!

Spanish peacock shawl -  by MandaKR

The other beautiful design I found was this fine 2ply lace shawl  - just wow! The actual pattern is designed by the amazing Meg Swanson called Spanish Peacock Shawl and this version is just stunning. I've always appreciated these circular shawls but haven't been tempted to make one till now. But I should really be thinking about making presents for that major event at the end of the year - don't want to mention xmas quite yet:) Not when I'm still hoping for a little late summer, lol! Still, this has jumped pretty much to the top of my to-do list. 

Now, let's work out that crochet lace - chains, clusters and most importantly tension:) see you all soon, hopefully with a little more regularity than the rest of this month!

A happy, creative day to you all! 
elaine x

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Following your muse

                                                                                 Source: via Elaine on Pinterest

Quote for the day found on Pinterest - no link to original owner to give credit but lovely!

This little quote typifies my week so far. I've been having a good physical and mental creative clearout - having a good hard look at my working and thinking habits and deciding what should stay and what should go. Quite, quite liberating. I mean, who knew I had so much fleece but haven't done felting for years? Do I still want to and would it matter if it wasn't there any more? Answer - YES. So what's stopping you getting around to felting? No organised space. Ok, no space you say? Then we have to make do with what we have and think carefully about how it is used.

So that's what I've been doing, cleaning house so to speak and deciding what stays, what is stored and what isn't needed anymore. Granted the last pile isn't that big as I know I WILL use most of my materials and equipment again, even if it isn't right now. The trick is squeezing it all in the space I have without overstuffing it but still having enough room to work comfortably. It feels like trying to put a duvet quilt back into its original packaging once it's been opened and fluffed up - damned tricky:)

I think if you are a maker, becoming a hoarder of materials comes naturally - especially if you use a lot of mixed media. You end up collecting bits of everything that could be interesting to incorporate into a collage  someday:) Ribbon, buttons, old keys, luggage tags, fibres, yarn, fleece, pressed leaves, beads, wire, fabric scraps, letraset, stamps, ..... And equipment! - heat gun, sewing machines, knitting machines, looms, dye pots, wax pot, etc.... It all builds up and takes over your house, shed, loft :)

But it's the mental clutter it creates as well. It's good to know you have an arsenal of creative skills under your belt but sometimes it can cause confusion when you want to start a new body of work or get back into the swing of things again. That and the fear of becoming a 'jack of all trades, master of none'. If I spend all my time switching from one technique to another, then am I sacrificing that time when I should have been becoming proficient in just one skill? And then I remember, that is who I AM, work with it:) I am becoming proficient at being creative in my own way that is unique to me, so don't even give it another thought. NOPE!

It's a bit like a creative identity crisis from conditioning by society and creative teachers at college. They give you a framework that you should fit and I always remember thinking 'this model doesn't feel right for me' but you carry on persevering 'cause that's the way the creative process should be. So years later, you carry about old labels and images of yourself in your head - I'm a weaver, no, a knitter now, no, a teacher, no, a mixed media artist.....When I really should stop trying to shoehorn myself into a label. Creativity doesn't fit nicely into a labelled box, it tends to slop all over the sides and organically morph into new combinations and ideas. And that's what is so great about it. Following your muse and seeing where it takes you - the techniques and materials are just tools to get you there. Why not be all of these and more? Shrug off all that old conditioning and be who you are meant to be.

So what I really learned this week was that I am a patchwork of my creative experiences and although I probably don't need 4 or 5 knitting machines right now, I do need to make the knitter, designer, teacher, artist, part of the new creative me on the next stage of the journey. Sometimes a clearout helps you rediscover some jewels that have been lying hidden for all those years:) Time to use them and see where the muse takes me.


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