People often ask me what inspires me, where I get my design ideas from. Rarely am I able to give a precise or coherent answer, other than that the hand-dyed yarns I work with are themselves the starting point. And then there’s this ~
And this ~
And also this ~
As I write, it’s a lovely sunny afternoon with a pleasant breeze. I look out windows to the west and see at least five varieties of bamboo, several Japanese Maples, and tall Douglas Firs behind them. From the window to my right, I survey, past the triple trunks of a large Western Red Cedar, at least eight Japanese Maples in colors ranging from bright yellow-green to deep burgundy, with different foliage shapes on each. Past them and above is a bright blue sky and more tall Douglas Firs. The breeze is moving everything gently, and the shiny young leaves reflect the sunlight. It’s mesmerizing; this is what surrounds me indoors and out.
Is this garden my inspiration? No. It isn’t. But it’s certainly the context within which I live and do my work, so it somehow relates – intangibly and secretly — to the work itself.
The longer vistas are often what please me the most, especially at this most lush time of the year; the combinations of colors and textures in all the vegetation (much of it quite rare in local gardens) is certainly an expression of aspects of my aesthetic.
But direct inspiration? No. And yet, there’s a relationship. When I move in close, I always find some of my favorite combinations of colors, and paying attention to the play of textures and shapes is enormously satisfying ~
Dicentra spectablis ‘Gold Heart’
Acer palmatum ‘Villa Taranto’
Weigela ‘Rubidor’ and Fagus sylvatica purpurea
Trochodendron aralioides in flower
Clematis ‘Kiri Te Kanawa’ , no-name tree peony in bud, Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’
Acer ginnala ‘Flame’ flowering
Iris confusa ‘Chengdu’ (Bamboo Iris)
These vignettes, a select few from this large garden, always speak to me, and rest in my visual memory. Surely they nurture and inform the work I do at my looms in some subterranean way. Even more surely the entire garden enriches my sense of color, texture and pattern as they play out in the natural world.