June 28, 2002
Issue 5
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A Book of Days - part 1

I have often been asked where I get the inspiration from for my designs, and it is a question I have asked other artists. The answer, at least my answer, has several layers. Very often the work of other beaders is my starting point, or finding instructions for a stitch I have not tried before.

Most days, I spend time surfing the internet, looking at beading sites, or the files in yahoo groups. Absorbing the colours, shapes and techniques used by others. Books also play their part. Over the years, I have become particularly interested in both Russian and Native American beading. From looking at examples of beading from these cultures, I have moved on to exploring other art mediums and developed a more general interest in the cultures. From such explorations comes a colour, or a word....a thought that somehow translates itself into beads.

The written word is another source of inspiration. I love poetry in particular, and sometimes a line, a title....even the words from a song...can start my imagination working. Symbols and colours seeping into my mind and sending me running to the boxes of beads that I hope will speak for me.

Sometimes its everyday things suddenly seen in a new light. The tiling in the underpass that looks so like a peyote pattern, a shadow cast by a vase standing in the window. The shape of a branch or a leaf.

Which is where my 'Book of Days' comes in. A small A5 book, filled with plain pages, that together with a box of pencils, lives in my handbag. A diary/sketch book/ reminder/....my book has many functions. The latest one is beautiful in itself. A birthday gift from my sister, it is bound in leather and is in the style of an old fashioned journal. Where ever I go, it goes. At night it sits on the table next to my bed. A jumble of words, bad drawings (I really can't draw!), url's, doodles, and the odd pressed leaf or petal picked up on my wanderings. There are even one or two pebbles rolling around inside the little cloth bag that protects it.

This book is my starting point.

(part 2 in the next edition of The Beadmouse News 'Developing an idea from a book of days)