New to me

Hello!

I am pretty sure that travel is good for me. It is just healthy to occasionally get out of the routine, right?

My trip to the Squam Art Workshops in June was wonderful for so many reasons; because I travelled to a beautiful part of the world and spent time with my people, but also because I had the chance to meet new people who are doing exciting things on the other side of the pond, a few of these I would like to share with you today.

In addition to the full day workshops that attendees sign up for, there are several shorter, drop-in activities going on, including Tierney Barden‘s Fairy Tales and Paper Cutting, which was incredibly fun! My efforts from that afternoon:

I also had the pleasure of meeting Marce, aka BrownBerry, who documented her time in Squam with this sweet podcast:

Marce was accompanied by Nancy, who I met at Squam last year. I’ve been following Nancy Instagram posts of her yoga practice and fitness regime which I find really inspiring; have a look if you enjoy watching superfit people get more fit.

Finally, I was incredibly lucky to have the wonderful Amor from Crave Yarn as my roommate, who allowed me to run off with this gorgeous skein of her Thoreau yarn, a fingering/4 ply yarn of 50% yak, 50% silk in the Stolen Seas colourway (the photo really doesn’t give an accurate impression of the subtlety of the blue).

Crave yarn Thoreau

It is so soft and luxurious that I don’t even want to wind it into a cake. I am more than happy to admire it in the skein until I have time to pay some proper attention to it!

Happy knitting,

Rx

Morning creativity

morning-drawingsHello!

For the last two years, one of my resolutions has been to draw everyday. The thing about being a designer is that I have entire days in which I don’t actually do anything creative. I sit in front of the computer screen, doing the things that need to be done for my business to be a business. So when I heard about Crystal Moody‘s #yearofcreativehabits challenge to herself, I was smitten. I decided to get up a little earlier and I have, with more or less frequency, made a drawing every (weekday) morning. It’s a great way for me to feel like I am doing something daily, however small, for myself and my creativity. This is not to say that the drawings are always good or even that they improve in a consistent way. Sometimes they are really terrible. Like even worse than when I began. But it still feels like a worthwhile activity, even when it is frustrating. Part of the original challenge was to post a photo of the drawing on Instagram as a way of creating accountability.

morning creativity - Copy

And I did for quite a while. But recently I decided to change that. It was pointed out to me that I had a knitting Instagram feed that was mostly composed of drawings. And I thought, yeah, good point. I really should spend some more time showing people my knitting work on the feed. So I have stopped posting the photos, but I haven’t stopped doing the drawings! I thought I would just share a few of the new ones here and say that I haven’t given up, the good work continues!

morning creativity-2 - Copy morning creativity-6 - Copy morning creativity-7 - Copy morning creativity-10 - Copy morning creativity-11 morning creativity-14

It is sometimes hard to remember that creativity is a discipline, and not always a romantic one. Do you have a creative anchor? What is it and how do you maintain it?

Happy creating!

R.

Into Stash…

Hello!

That ‘sort myself out for the new year’ feeling continues to endure for me, nearly 3 weeks into 2016. That may be because I haven’t quite done all the amazing planning I was going to do. More accurately, I have been planning, but until this week, it was distinctly unsatisfying. After finishing the Klee Collection, I haven’t had a big project to work on and have been drifting. It’s a bad habit, but I need a bit of pressure to get things done. So this week, I have been searching for that pressure, and I think I finally found it.

It began with the Curious Handmade podcast, as it often does lately. This month, Helen has focused on stash appreciation and after my big wardrobe clean out, it seemed like cleaning out the yarn stash was also a good idea.

And it was, in the beginning. Then there was a moment in which I was no longer sure I was in charge of the situation. Then I knew I had lost the upper hand to the yarn itself.

Perhaps this is the natural flow of every project: calm optimism, then grouchy chaos, then organised calm.

After some days of not being able to enter the room (barely) containing all the yarn, it started to resolve itself into order. And then I had an idea. I thought perhaps this was the solution to my lack of motivation.

ELK yarn stash knitwear planning

I have many partial skeins of yarn and single skeins. What if I designed a collection which accommodated these scrapes and bits? In the spirit of using what you have and not letting good things go to waste, each design could incorporate the remnants of previous projects and the reclaimed yarns of less successful knits. It may not be wise to mention this, as I have only just thought of it and it will be months before I have anything to show for the idea, but, well, why not? There is some motivation to be found in public accountability….

I began sketching rough ideas based on the yarns I have and how they could be used.

ELK yarn stash and knitwear design

These are really basic silhouettes which will be filled out in the coming months. With so many small amounts of different colours, colour work seems the way forward, so my next step is to do some research into different techniques and traditions, and do some swatching.

Wish me luck on this next knitting quest!

Anyone going to Unravel in Farnham Maltings? If so I will see you there!

Happy knitting,

R.

 

Daily Creativity

Hello!

Autumn is here! It is my favorite season. That back-to-school feeling is always uplifting for me–all the potential and hope of a fresh school year before any overdue assignments and late-night cramming.

After the summer fun, I’m in a stock-taking kinda mood. Although we are 3/4 the way through the year, I am thinking about how my New Years resolutions, among other things are coming along.

One of the more personal, internal aspects of my resolutions are the morning rituals, which have varied in their length and elaborateness since January.

Although I still think of myself as a natural night owl, the fact is that stuff gets done when, and only when, I get up early to do it. I do appreciate a nice bit of self-help and I feel like there is plenty of advice out there about how to be more creative, or productive or happy or anything at all. The advice always boils down to one thing. Just do it. Every day. Do it.

And the way that I do it is in the morning. Before anyone else is up there is a brief but lovely hour when my brain seems more able to focus. And so I do one creative thing–a drawing, and one learning thing–10 minutes of a Spanish lesson, and one productive thing–a little bit of writing and planning for the day ahead. And then, for the last couple of months, I take myself off to the gym for a bit of exercise. There is a really good reason for this, which involves my new(ish) status as a freelancer who works from home, but I will write about that later.

The fun and frustrating bit is the drawing. Every morning I open up a book of photography and choose one photograph to work from. I prefer portraits and street photography; it’s always the faces that get me. I then spend some time drawing from the photo.*

After 2 weeks in Seattle visiting my family and not making a single sketch, I have returned to the routine this morning (at 2 am! Thanks jetlag!) and am not surprised to find that the pencil feels clunky in my hand.

daily creative drawing

The drawing is not good. It is probably better than the first drawings I did, but I have to admit it sharing it doesn’t feel great.

But I guess this is the lesson for me; the creativity isn’t a linear progression. This is at once obvious and obscure. Or maybe it’s obvious from without, but obscured by emotion and/or ego from within.

Creativity is a daily practice. I don’t think it is too ridiculous to say it’s a way of life.

So there’s my pep talk to myself for the day. I would love to hear about your creative kick-starts!!

Happy creating,

R.

*This daily exercise was inspired by the wonderful Crystal Moody, who began a daily drawing practice a couple of years ago, chronicling her artistic work on Instagram. I have also found Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit inspirational.