I am frequently inspired by the yarns my customers make from the fibres that I dye, card and sell. I very much consider producing hand dyed and carded fibre for others as a collaboration between myself and my customers.
I usually start by having an idea for a theme or something visual inspires me and sends colour combinations sparking across the synapses of my design aesthetic. “Seeing” colour is more than simply seeing hues – the way colour interacts with form and emotion makes every new project an exciting unknown journey of discovery (especially where dyeing is involved!!).
Even now when I spend a large portion of every day with my senses drenched in colour, some shades or palettes make something leap inside of me; I get that swing of adrenaline at the possibilities. As though a thousand colourful butterflies have been released in my tummy and are fighting to get clear and start designing…
Sometimes things turn out exactly as I envisaged. Other times they just won’t play nicely at all and I can end up lost in tears of frustration that the things I “see” behind my eyes I can’t make materialise in front of them no matter how hard I try.
For me creating – anything – is just a part of who I am and have always been. Creation is a need not a hobby. “I create, therefore I am”. No matter how poor the result or how many times you have to make it over, making – the act of building something with your hands and heart – is merely an attempt to make sense of the world around us, an attempt to understand Beauty or Nature or indeed Love itself.
Creativity may not be confined to physically crafting an object. It might be a making a delicious meal for loved ones as an expression of your affection. It might be hearing a beautiful song and wanting to meld that music into your own soul too. It might be reading something profound that touches you and perhaps gathers the pieces of your mind and inspires words of your own. It might be simply being present in Nature and feeling that peace or beauty or awe or fear soak into every part of you.
It might inspire you to nurture the fauna and flora as a gardener, conservationist, husbandman. Creativity inspires us to paint pictures with our daily lives, to make each moment matter however insignificant.
I make things because I want to see stars; I create because I want to feel the sacred in the every day. Creating is in a sense a longing for a reflection of heaven on earth
Sometimes a project is something you carry through from inception to the finished article. Sometimes you are merely a cog in the human machine to carry something through to the final stages in someone else’s hands. This is how I feel about the fibres from BarberBlackSheep. I make the materials for someone else to take on and develop further into something new, perhaps something I could never have dreamed of. For someone who likes to be in control this is actually very liberating. I have no idea if I will ever see these things I’ve made again now they belong to someone else and if I do, what form they will take. Sometimes when I do get to see their evolution it gives me so much joy to know they’ve given someone else hours of creative fulfilment and between us something tangible has been explored and made real.
Sometimes this goes even further and I get inspiration back in return. It might be a knitting pattern I’ve not yet come across. It might be a technique that I’ve not yet learned or a tip to make life easier. It might be a new way of combining colour or form, of mixing up the palettes I made and creating something fresh by adding in or leaving out other parts of the spectrum.
Whatever form it takes, creation is a constant visual conversation that enriches each person that takes part.
I hope in the coming weeks and months to find the time to be able to share some of the things others have made as part of this ongoing work.