I have created an 'inspiration station' or mood board /zone or just an area of my studio dedicated to things I want to be looking at.
The idea was suggested by my good friend Louise who I sat back to back with on our Art Foundation year. One of the biggest joys of that year was having a space that had 3 walls that surrounded you and you were encouraged to fill it with things that inspired you, that you were working on, ideas you were playing around with all part of the project or brief you were working on. At the end of that project the whole lot would come down and the white walls would return as the new project started. Soon it would be filled with the colours and ideas for the next phase.
Louise visited the studio back in July and suggested I could do something similar with a space above my standing desk that I use to wrap orders at. It's the wall the door is on and so I often face it when working at the table too - an ideal place for my eye to regularly wonder.
So I thought I might share with you the bits that are currently on it.
This is it in, it's entirety. Almost all of it is my own work, except the piece below. They are things that I have created but don't yet feel finished with -areas that I want to investigate further. Other bits are things that I see as starting points - I'll take you through each bit in close up photographs below.
Firstly, at the bottom this is the piece of work that's not mine. It is a spread by Quentin Blake and it was in an A5 booklet that I bought when I visited an exhibition of his at The House of Illustration years ago. I love Quentin Blake's style and in this I really enjoy the changing thickness of the lines. Also, the fact that he says he likes to draw with Quills - part of the inspiration for me making my own. I took these pages out of the booklet and framed them and have had them in my studio for years now.
Above the Quentin Blake piece is my 'lots of love' print - I really enjoy this bold brush lettering style, the plain black and white of the design and the composition. It's also a reminder to do the work that I love. I created many lettering examples that I use in my Brush Lettering and Modern Calligraphy workshops.
To the left of that is a collection of grasses I gathered in the summer. I love going for a walk and collecting things as I go - things that are okay for me to collect - fallen items like seeds or leaves or species that there is such an abundance of that it is okay for me to pick - such as the grasses on the verges. I like these as they are a reminder of the joy that I have in the ordinary - in the relatable things that many of us see a lot of the time. I loved studying them in a series of drawings over the summer and then doing the two big pieces that sold in my recent exhibition.
Below that is a wreath that I made with Bex Partridge of Botanical Tales, last year at Wild Meadow. I wrote a blog post about that day at the time which you can read here. I made my wreath about of mainly grasses and a few wild flowers - very seasonal pieces that I found and recognised in the meadow. I love the idea of creating and illustrating one of these for each month of the year - from hedgerow species. This is to remind me about that idea.
Then there is a large feather next to that. This is one of the few that I'm yet to turn into a quill - I can't promise I wont but it's a good place to keep it for now anyway.
Between the grasses and the lots of love print is a luggage tag with my name on it. These I did for my modern calligraphy workshops and tied to the goodie bag for each participant. This one was a practice but I love the black ink on the brown kraft card.
Finally, top left are some feather patterns that I enjoyed playing about with recently. This was done wit the first quill I made to experiment with the lines that I could create with it. I'd recently been looking through Mark Hearld's 'Workbook' (one of my favourite books to look through) and these were partly inspired by this.
Here we have some more brush lettering - I love writing out alphabets in different styles.
Below we have some botanical prints that I created in the 'Printing the Seasons' workshop I ran with local artist Helen Cass. I love these prints, and even have a small printing mangle in the studio, and some bracken being pressed in a large book on the shelf... ready for some more printing one day soon.
We also have some paper folding - I really have no idea what might happen here but love the thought of opening it up to reveal artwork inside. This is a Turkish Map fold on square paper that I found on this blog here having been inspired by my friend Katherine Owen's creation she shared on her Instagram feed.
Here is a closer look at some of the feathers that I drew with the first quill pen I made from a feather. I love how you can draw quickly and freely with it and these feathers were a fun pattern to do just that with. The brown kraft paper is used to wrap my online orders in and so I was playing about with ink on this offcut. I like the combination of the black ink brown paper and using that with the white paper patterns too.
'Keep Calm and write prettily' was another brush lettering example I created. I think writing prettily is a very good way of keeping calm as it can be such a mindful activity. The smallest lapse in concentration can lead to a mis-spelling and that is reason enough to focus!.
Top left is one of a range of A5 pieces I have made this year. All are on watercolour paper like this one, and all created using water, black then gold ink. I've been experimenting with the ink distribution, the amount of water, movement of the paper and how to stand it so the ink runs as it dries, and then the drama and contrast the gold can create. A selection of these will be for sale, do get in touch if you would like to see the pieces currently available.
Finally, in the top right are more inky patterns. I love pattern creation and it's also a great pondering activity - filling a page with repetitive patterns I find quite meditative and enjoyable.
Oak leaves and acorns and another paper fold - this one I used to make at school as a fortune teller - again I'm not sure if it is heading anywhere yet but I like the idea of paper folding and opening it up to reveal the artwork inside.
To complete the tour of the studio inspiration station (Autumn 2020 edition) we have another of the black and gold ink pieces. I love how the ink behaves with the water, how it pools with intensity in different places and how at the top it lands like watercolour, clear and crisp on the page. The gold ink has a completely different texture and twinkles as it catches the light which makes a great juxtaposition against the soft grey tones. I've very much enjoying playing with these at the moment.
I've enjoyed looking and talking through each part of the inspiration station - I think it's given me a reason to think about each piece and why they are there. I like the idea of changing this collection regularly - every couple of months perhaps or seasonally and so it will be nice to see if and how ideas evolve.