Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Flights of Inspiration

Hurrying through the airport on my way to catch a plane, the crowds parted in front of me and my way was impeded by a plexiglass case of artifacts. I stopped dead in my tracks: they were an arresting sight.

There was a raffia mat, with a large pottery vase and a smaller pottery bowl, all in greys, blacks, tans, and ochre, the natural colors of the materials. The mat was diagonal in the case, and it's graphic image captured my attention.

It was a woven raffia pile mat from Africa. Which country? Which century? Contemporary or antique? The details from the small card in the case escape me now. None of that really matters: I was captivated by the imagery. The cultural information is secondary here to the graphic inspiration.

I did a quick sketch from memory once I was seated in the gate area.

raffia mat sketch

Later, I did another with color added, my own ideas of color, not the colors of the original piece.

raffia mat colors

The lines in the mat were delightfully askew, they weren't neat and tidy. It was as if they were done at will, not from any neat mathematical calculation. There is much in weaving that is orderly, but I am most captivated by weavings that demonstrate a bit of the human touch: the uneven, the off-kilter, the out-of-square, the meandering line.

Here is the beginning of the first interpretation:

raffia mat bag

Wool pile bagface, about 8" wide (and getting wider, speaking of human frailty!).

Inspiration is everywhere, sometimes in the least likely places. While I *can* find it right outside my door, I also find it very often when I am out and about, in public, when I go into *watcher* mode. I find my mind is let to wander when I am out of my comfort zone of home and studio. And for some reason, inspiration is often not where I go looking for it: it comes upon me unawares.

6 Comments:

Blogger beadlizard said...

Which airport? I'd just make the other end narrow to match... Can't wait to see the finished product! Will you please show a photo of the underside, too?

12:12 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

I love inspiration stories.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

What a great description of the process of inspiration! A pleasure to meet you last night; I am looking forward to spinning Saturdays.

8:13 PM  
Blogger gw said...

Kuba cloth from the Dem. Rep. Congo? The pattern reminded me of that, and seemingly thee is a pile version.

2:59 AM  
Blogger cindy said...

Sara...I love to watch how your projects develop!

6:01 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

My most dangerous place for inspiration is the stained glass windows at church--the pieces where all different colors are put together.

I completed my first weaving project!!!

1:19 PM  

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