Friday, 23 January 2015

areas of inspiration

my brain is full to the brim these days of exciting projects and collections and goals (chalk it up to that resolution post). i won't post them all here, because they're not all formulated, and some require talking to other folks, and also there's that issue of not "publishing" anything beforehand with certain projects (this includes personal social media accounts, or so i'm led to believe). anyway, that's not the focus of this post. i wanted to share with you all some of the sources of inspiration that are leading to all of these grand plans! because i actually firmly believe that some of these sources of mine are actually sources for quite a few of you these days, and that's one of the most exciting things about the handmade community to me.

first up, shannon okey's brilliant the knitgrrl guide to professional knitwear design. shannon includes everything from how to tweet professionally to how to write a book proposal. i picked up a copy at my library (how cool is my library??), but i may eventually grab a copy of my own. i've been skimming different bits rather than reading cover to cover, but it's awesome and easy to understand wherever i pick it up. i'm trying to do cover to cover during my bus rides, which are the perfect length of time for a few pages but not enough for knitting, so i don't feel bad.

next up, madelinetosh's instagram feed. madelinetosh is already one of my favourite yarn suppliers (how could they not be?), but following them on instagram just makes me love the company more. from posts like this one to the recent natural dye adventures, i'm just falling more and more in love with madtosh. i've designed a couple of pieces using their yarns recently, including abalone and another waiting elsewhere (news on it to eventually come, whether it's self-published or not), and i have another design using one of their blends that will be going in as a submission this spring. i'm not obsessed at all. nope, it's all perfectly fine...

A photo posted by Cait Ffrench (@ffrench) on

ok, realistically, instagram in general. i won't tag every single person i follow and drool over, because that would be too long of a list. but some main ones are caitlin ffrench (@ffrench), annie claire (@byannieclaire), the ladies of minnehaha fiber works (@minnehahafiberworks), and of course ashley yousling (@woolful). colours, nature inspiration, process...instagram has created this space where we can curate visual representations of our journeys and share them with other people. one of the things i love best about creative life is the process, and seeing other people's processes (it was one of the best parts of my residency last summer). instagram may have its flaws, but it is also one of the greatest social media tools for connecting handmakers and creatives to one another across borders. (imagine if we could create equal internet access across the globe for everyone, regardless of location or income level, how incredible it would be to see the points of view of any culture!)

i would be remiss if i didn't mention ashley's woolful podcast. i'm convinced that woolful is changing the wool industry, at least the north american one, in small and big ways, and instagram is letting us see it in real time. from established acid dyers like pigeonroof studios and madtosh playing with natural dyeing (there is nothing more exciting to me than to watch the process of people who know their shit when it comes to dyes experimenting with natural ones) to companies like knit picks bringing in breed-specific and ethically sourced wool lines (although i can't seem to find them anymore so it was probably a very short window...change can still be slow), there's a big shift happening in wool world, and i swear to glob you can feel it happening and trace it back to woolful's launch. it's incredible and exciting and terrifying in a wonderful way to see and feel the impact of a single person's journey shared via social media. incredible. so so so incredible.

seriously, how adorable can she get? photo from her website. also, i want her leggings.
finally, hang-out dates with my friend and often-times mentor, kelly ruth. kelly taught me how to do natural dyeing last february, and it's become a major part of my fibre practice. the fact that we're often inspired by similar things is just super convenient. put the two of us together and we come up with the coolest collaboration ideas (no bias here, none at all). she's also a big part of why i'm doing a trunk show later this spring. we're currently tossing around a few ideas for collaborative creations, so i'm sure there will be announcements at some point of our crazy plans. expect fire to be involved. and foraging. and probably weird installations. i love her and our friendship a lot.

so what is inspiring you lately? inspiration and resources are a fascinating part of the process.

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